According to national statistics, the number of web accessibility lawsuits filed increased by an incredible 183 percent from 2017 to 2018. In 2019, it is estimated that there were approximately 40 website accessibility lawsuits filed each week. One of the main reasons for these lawsuits is that the websites were not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). As an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. can explain, the ADA requires that all information and electronic technology needs to be accessible to people with disabilities. The ADA covers any company with 15 or more employees.
Keeping this law in mind, both businesses and the web design company they hire to develop their websites need to be cognizant that websites need to be ADA compliant. Failure to do so could result in the business facing serious legal issues that require the assistance of a Washington, D.C. ADA website litigation lawyer.
Although the ADA is not specific in its requirements for website compliance, there have been some guidelines put forth that companies should be following. The first such direction was issued in 2010 with the publication of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These standards, which were released by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), states that all electronic information from commercial and public entities must be accessible by people with disabilities. This information encompasses software, hardware, and documentation.
An ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. knows there is also Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (“WCAG”) which was published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (“WAI”) of the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”). These guidelines have dozens of recommendations that website developers should implement when designing websites for customers.
No matter what type of business you have, whether large or small, the regulations are the same as they are for physical location compliancy. Any entity that employs 15 or more employees needs to have a website that is ADA compliant, just as a company’s physical location must be.
While many lawsuits that have been filed are against companies most of us will never be aware of, there have been several notable website compliance lawsuits that have been filed against well-known entities.
In 2019, a visually impaired woman filed a lawsuit against the singer Beyoncé, alleging she was unable to use some of the key features of the singer’s website because of its lack of standards outlined in the WCAG 2.0. As of this writing, the litigation is still pending. Some of the issues cited in the lawsuit included:
Domino’s Pizza also was a defendant in a web accessibility lawsuit filed by a claimant who was blind in 2016. The claimant alleged in the lawsuit that he was unable to access neither the company’s website nor their mobile app, even with a screen-reader, in order to order food. The lawsuit was originally dismissed without prejudice by the district court where it was filed, but the claimant appealed the dismissal, and the appeals court overturned the district court’s decision to dismiss and said the lawsuit could proceed. Dominos appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to review the decision and sent the case back to the district court for trial. The case is still pending as of this writing.
Your users need to be able to operate your website easily and with whatever assistive technology they prefer. This might look like ensuring that your website can be operated fully from a keyboard for users who cannot manipulate a mouse. This also means not using any content that could cause seizures, such as flashing lights or quickly moving images and icons. Having well-organized menus and an easily available sitemap can also help users find their way around your site. Working with an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C., can help you determine whether your site meets this component of compliance.
Your website needs to have its core content available for users to access with multiple senses. For example, your images should have alternative text that describes the image to a screen reader for someone who is blind. Alternatively, subtitles on videos or transcripts of audio make your content accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing users. This element of website design is quite complex, so don’t hesitate to contact Eric Siegell Law to consult a lawyer who specializes in ADA compliance for websites.
While this element of accessibility may seem simple at first, an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C., will tell you that it can be difficult to achieve. Users need to understand both your website content and your website structure. Your content needs to be readable; this might look like setting your fonts to a reasonable size and using vocabulary that is accessible to your audience. Your website should also have a predictable structure that users can anticipate on each page.
There are a huge variety of assistive technologies available today, and your website needs to be usable by them all. Your website also needs to remain up-to-date with standards as new technology emerges, so this element of ADA compliance is ongoing. An ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C., can work with you so that you don’t have to navigate the complex world of assistive technologies on your own.
These suggestions are just the beginning of ensuring that your website is ADA compliant. Your lawyer at Eric Siegell Law can help you develop a deeper understanding of ADA compliance so you can build an accessible website and avoid costly lawsuits.
Web accessibility may be an afterthought to the average Internet user. In fact, you may not think about how to make your site accessible at all if you haven’t yet spoken with an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. It’s easy to forget that people with disabilities access the web all the time using various assistive technology if you are working on your site alone from behind a computer screen.
However, web accessibility is not only a sincerely inclusive gesture but also federal law. Let your attorney at Eric Siegell Law help you ensure that you won’t be sued for your website’s inaccessibility. The following are just a few pointers to get you started with an accessible site.
Well structured headers and subheaders don’t just make your site look neat, but they also make it easier for a person with a disability to navigate. Ask your ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. about how to properly label headers so that they can be navigated using keyboard shortcuts and not just with a mouse.
It may be tempting to jazz up your website with some fancy graphics and flashy content. However, take the advice of the attorneys at Eric Siegell Law and steer clear of those types of website features. Flash is both inaccessible to visually impaired persons using screenreaders and triggering to anyone with a neurological disorder. Instead, opt for a clean minimalist design which will be accessible and mobile friendly as well.
If you are thinking of labeling the buttons on your site with neat icons and graphics, consult with an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. to find a better look. An individual using a text to speech screenreader due to blindness cannot tell the difference between links and buttons unless they are clearly labeled with actual text. In fact, if you choose to use thumbnails exclusively, your links and buttons may not even be clickable to the blind person.
If you want to ensure that your website can be used by all, it should be your mission to make the site as user friendly and accessible as possible. From reading blog posts to purchasing products, a person with a disability should be able to easily navigate on your site without asking for help. Contact the attorneys at Eric Siegell Law for an overview and a consultation.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Millions of internet users have disabilities that make navigating a website very difficult if it has not been designed with accessibility in mind. If your company is part of a lawsuit for an inaccessible website, an ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. can help you with your case.
Here are four ways to make your website more ADA-friendly.
Many people use their phones or a desktop and a mouse to access web content. For people with certain disabilities, accessing your website might be impossible if it can only be navigated by tapping or clicking on links and menu items. Your website should be operable with the possible strokes on a keyboard. Eric Siegell Law can help to assess your website to determine if it meets accessibility expectations.
A website should be simple to use. If you select the “Home” button, you should always be redirected to the “Home” page. Similarly, each command given to a website should have a predictable outcome. If a new window opens instead of redirecting the user to a new page, that can be disorienting, especially for someone using assistive technology. Site predictability concerns are one reason that a company might find itself in legal trouble. An ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. can help you to understand why your website might not be accessible.
People have a variety of disabilities that make using a website difficult. If you account for visual impairments on your website, that’s a great first step, but it isn’t enough. A website must also be accessible to individuals with hearing loss and with physical and mental limitations. For example, you might have created a great video that explains your new product, but you didn’t include any written description. Your website isn’t compliant because you’ve limited accessibility to a whole group of people. Eric Siegell Law can make suggestions about how to improve the accessibility of your website for all people.
Writing on the web can be difficult. You want to be communicative about what your company offers, sound professional, and appeal to potential customers. The language you use on your website must easily understandable. This means that the language is simple enough for any person to read (with the exception of technical terms) and is easily compatible with assistive technology. An ADA website litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. may be able to make suggestions about the compatibility of the language on your website.