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Several of our clients have reached out to us regarding threats of legal action they’re received from third parties over company websites that are not ADA compliant. While ADA accommodations are nothing new—government and public institution websites have been required to conform to ADA guidelines since the early 2000s—we are seeing a push to make private companies compliant, as well.
What is ADA compliance and does it pertain to you?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Web content should be accessible to blind users, deaf users and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies.
Businesses that fall under Title I, those that operate 20 or more weeks per year with at least 15 full-time employees are covered by the ADA.
What does this mean?
ADA legislation as it applies to websites is currently a gray area. This leaves the interpretation of the law up to the court where the lawsuit is filed, generally a state court. Suits have been filed in every state, though the majority of cases are in New York, Florida, California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
The ADA requires that any business, regardless of size, make all reasonable efforts to accommodate customers with disabilities, but fails to provide further clarity on what is considered reasonable efforts.
Failure to have an ADA-compliant website could open a business to lawsuits, financial liabilities, and damage to your brand reputation.
While it may not be legally required for your site to be ADA compliant right now, it may be in the future and it’s just a good idea.
What steps can you take to be ADA compliant?
EnerCom can work with you to bring your company website into compliance—or as close to it as possible based on existing features and functionality (aka “reasonable” accommodation).
- Creating and maintaining a consistent and logical hierarchy for headings and subheads.
- Ensuring page titles relate to the content within each page.
- Using font styles such as italic and bold, and not just color, to differentiate words within text.
- Adding “alt text” and descriptions to images throughout the site, so screen readers can interpret graphics for blind users. (This will also boost your SEO!)
- Incorporating column header and cell information within tables.
- Ensuring contrast between background images/colors and text is high enough for colorblind folks and screen readers to “read” your content.
- Ensuring form errors are easily identified and solved.
- Adding subtitles to videos.
Our team has extensive experience in creating ADA-compliant websites, and we can help bring your site into compliance.