29 Oct Website Accessibility: What is it and Does it Apply to my Small to Medium Sized Business?
What is website accessibility?
It is the programming or setup of a website so that it can be accessed by users with different types of disabilities, such as blindness or being hearing impaired.
What are the ways that a website might not be accessible to users with disabilities?
A good example is a blind customer who use your website with a screen reader, that is, a tool that reads to them the content that exists on your website. The website needs to be programmed in a certain way that allows for the screen reader to correctly tell the disabled user what is on the website page. The screen reader not only reads the text that you can visibly see, but also the text behind the scenes describing images, navigation and form fields.
Website accessibility over the last several years has turned into an incredibly important topic to business owners for the simple fact that COMPANIES ARE GETTING SUED.
Why are they getting sued?
They are getting sued because their website is not accessible to users with disabilities and according to the American Disabilities Act Title III:
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors' offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.
This has been translating in the courts that not only does your public place of business need to be accessible, but also your public website.
If your website is NOT set up correctly, then the user will not have the same experience as a non-disabled user, which can be seen as an exclusion of someone with a disability (which is against the law and why businesses are getting sued).
Another bonus of making your website accessible? Besides giving all of your users an equal experience, the search engines require very similar coding to the website so that your website is visible and ranked within the search engines. Search engines LOVE accessible websites.
I know what you might be thinking. Well, that only pertains to large companies, companies with big budgets and big targets on their backs. Not true. In fact, according to Seyfarth Shaw Law Firm:
Plaintiffs filed 4965 federal ADA Title III lawsuits in just the first six months of 2018, as compared to 7,663 for all of 2017. If the filings continue at the same rate, there will be close to 10,000 ADA Title III lawsuits for all of 2018 – a 30% increase over 2017.
Even more important? Florida is the third highest state for number of lawsuits filed.
The good news is that we know of steps you can take TODAY to help eliminate the target on your back. We have broken down the steps to make your website accessible into two phases. We can make changes to your website right away that will tell attorneys trolling for websites to sue, that your business knows what it is doing when it comes to being accessible online. This gives us time to complete the second phase which is to make your entire website accessible to disabled users.
Contact us today for a free estimate.
Latest posts by Kara Noreika (see all)
- Website Accessibility:What is it and Does it Apply to my Small to Medium Sized Business? - October 29, 2018
- Common Drop Down List Data for WordPress Contact Forms - March 18, 2016
- Prevent Email Spam on Forms - April 16, 2014