Like many retailers, you may sell your products and services directly to customers through your website. If you fall into this category, we highly recommend ensuring your website meets all Web accessibility standards, which are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
Web accessibility standards include various modifications that are intended to ensure the accessibility of your website for people with disabilities. For example, text alternatives such as large print and descriptive audio, descriptive captions for images, subtitles for videos, and the use of distinguishable colors are all ways in which you can make your webpage (or mobile app) accessible. Over 60 million adults in the United States live with a disability, and it is imperative to make sure that your website doesn't discriminate against such a large portion of the U.S.
Further, failure to comply with the ADA can result in legal action. A recent trend has developed involving plaintiffs filing lawsuits for violating Title III of the ADA as it pertains to commercial websites. Although the ADA did not initially contemplate online sales activity, courts now recognize a cause of action for parties who allege a violation of the ADA in connection with accessing information through a website.
Many of these lawsuits may be settled by paying the plaintiff up to $50,000, but taking steps to make your website ADA compliant to improve accessibility can avoid paying such fees.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) that address the accessibility of web content. WCAG 2.1 establishes internationally recognized standards for making web content accessible to people with disabilities.
- There are three conformance levels for WCAG 2.1: Level A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest).
- The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled matters referencing Level AA criteria from WCAG 2.1 as a standard of compliance. As such, we recommend pursuing Level AA or AAA compliance on your website.
- See https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/ for more information.
We recommend contacting a firm that can assist in web accessibility evaluation, implementation, and compliance at a conformance level appropriate for your business and industry. W3C has published a list of tools and service providers at https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/. We believe such a proactive measure to ensure accessibility can offer peace of mind and potential savings.
How Gallium Law Can Help
We have experience litigating ADA compliance cases and are prepared to help you if you do find yourself the subject of a lawsuit concerning ADA compliance. Please fill out this Contact Form or call us at 651-256-9480 so that we can discuss your case.
*The information provided in this article is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is meant as a starting point in your search for answers to your legal questions.