Does my website have to be ADA Compliant?
What is ADA compliance?
ADA compliance means making your place of business fully accessible to persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, but it only covered brick and mortar businesses. Meaning your place of business had to accommodate people with disabilities. Now that technology has advanced, this law applies to your web site as well.
What happens if your site is not ADA compliant?
In 2013 there were 2,722 lawsuits filed. In 2017 there were 7,663 lawsuits. While not all of these were website lawsuits, in 2018 there were 2285 website specific lawsuits which were 181% higher than the year prior.
Here’s the gray area.
There are 5 titles under the ADA Act. (I)Employment, (II)State and local government, (III) public accommodation, (IV)telecommunications, and (V) misc. provisions. None of these titles mention or give any guidelines for websites.
The only law in place (as of 10/2019) that enforces website accessibility is section 508 and it only pertains to federal agency websites. In the United States, having an ADA accessible site is a “choice”, but it’s not an easy one to make.
Having an ADA compliant site only makes sense because that’s the direction we are heading. Especially with section 508 law already in place. Most lawsuits that were filed were lost because if a physical store has to comply why shouldn’t an online store? This is the parallel that was used and it makes a lot of sense.
That brings me to my next question.
Who does ADA Compliance Apply to?
ADA compliance applies to any business with 15 employees or more. If you’re an e-commerce website it puts you at a much higher risk of being sued. Big sites like Target and Amazon were sued and lost. They had to pay millions to get their sites up to code, even with no actual law in place.
There are other industries that are at a greater risk along with e-commerce. This includes but is not limited to:
While new companies might not prioritize web accessibility simply because of price, it can be seen as a great insurance policy. Even if you don’t fall into one of the categories mentioned above, if you want to prepare for the future and ensure no lawsuits, becoming web accessible is the way to go. Not to mention being available to persons with disabilities is very important and says that you care.
The 48-hour scam
There are many companies out there who claim they can bring your website up to code in as little as two days. This is simply not possible. It takes going through every page on your website and bringing each variable up to code on that page. It’s not simply a magic button that you press. This could take a single developer many hours if you have a decently sized website, hence the hefty price tag to bring sites up to code.
Should I just get a new website all together?
While some might be tempted to do this if you understand anything about how Google indexes websites, someone who has thousands of pages on their site would lose rankings. The price of making your site fully accessible depends on how large your website is. Making the best decision for your specific situation is best done by consulting a professional.
Since making your website fully accessible to people with disabilities can be a legal issue, you don’t want just anyone taking a swing at it. You want to go with a company who is well versed in making the website fully ADA compliant. This is one of those instances where the term ” you get what you pay for” becomes very obvious.
ADA compliant website builders
You will also see tons of ” free analysis” offers out there. The truth behind them is they don’t even offer the service themselves. With all the hype of ADA compliance and websites, there are tons of people trying to take advantage of businesses that don’t know any better. Here at GrowIT media, we have trained staff who have brought federal websites up to code and understand how to do it properly.
Book a session with us to see what the best step is for you and your business.