Is Your Business’ Website ADA Compliant and Does it Have to Be?
Many businesses are aware of the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). However, many ADA modifications are done in the real world. What about online? Does a business have to make sure that their website or that any online commercial platform, is ADA compliant?
Many Websites are Noncompliant
If you think your business does a good job of being compliant online, a recent study of 10 million websites found that 98% of menus, and over 70% of online forms, failed to be fully compliant under the ADA.
You may have problems that you didn’t even realize were there. For example, are there links or areas where the user has to touch, that are too small for people with limited function in hands to properly use? Is text large enough to be seen by people with disabilities? Do online videos use closed captioning?
Lack of ADA Regulations
Right now, it is not completely clear to what extent the ADA applies to websites. There are no set standards for websites, the way that there are with physical stores, where regulations may say how high a handrail must be, or where ramps must be installed. The lack of regulatory guidance leaves a lot of room for lawsuits alleging violations of the ADA.
Despite the lack of standards and regulations, there have been lawsuits where end users allege that websites are not compliant with the ADA. Recently, a man sued Domino’s pizza saying that he was unable to use the Dominos app. The man argued that if Dominos’ physical locations had to comply with the ADA, so too should its website. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed that Dominoes website had to comply with the ADA.
In California, a number of businesses have been threatened with lawsuits under the ADA, for the business’ failure to have ADA compliant websites. The law firm threatening the lawsuits sent the businesses screen shots of the company websites.
Getting Into Compliance
There is little reason why most websites cannot come into compliance with the ADA. Unlike modifications to physical premises, which can involve costly physical alterations to fixtures, floors, or walls, a website can be altered simply with reprogramming.
There are some solutions that can help a business comply with the ADA. For example, WordPress plugins have toolbars that allow users to use high contrast text, and increase the size of text. Other plugins can check to see whether a WordPress website complies with the ADA. Companies should try to make menus and buttons different from each other, and have visual cues telling users where input (a click or swipe) is required. There should also be a function telling users whether a submission of information was received and successful.
Whether you are a business or an individual protected by the ADA, we can help you obtain damages, or protect your business from ADA lawsuits. Let our West Palm Beach commercial litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, help you. Call us at 561-291-8298 to get a consultation.