Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

by Jack Harasimowicz | Oct 27, 2017 | Banking, News | 0 comments
“This is absolutely something that companies should be concerned about, and they should be proactive about addressing it.”¹ - Brain G, a Virginia attorney who specializes in defending companies against ADA-related lawsuits.

Your website is often the first thing that makes an impression on your customers and audience. You put time and money into making sure that it delivers your company's core message, insightful content, and relevant information all while having a streamlined and professional interface. Your website may also expose your company to litigation if it's not fully ADA compliant.

What does being ADA Complaint Entail?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 outlined Federal accessibility laws in the United States. This brings to mind wheelchair ramps, doors that open automatically, and other features that can be found in public places. However, since 2000, this Act has been expanded to include public places on the internet, i.e. your website. Credit unions, banks, and other private-sector businesses that do not provide proper access to information for those with disabilities on their website can be held financially liable.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the full and equal accessibility of goods or services “of any public accommodation.” This arguably includes the goods and services offered on websites. The CUJ states that a typical demand or lawsuit, for example, will claim that the business’s website and the services it provides are not accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers, because they contain digital barriers which limit the ability of these individuals to use screen reading software and other assistive technology to access website content.

This explosion of ADA compliance lawsuits is similar to the "Talking ATM" settlements back in 2000. What makes this new wave of compliance more difficult to follow is the numerous grey areas. Lawsuits do not have to originate in the state the company is located, different states can produce different outcomes (Netflix, for example, settled a case in Massachusetts but prevailed in a California case), and the final set of rules have not been established.

Get the Guidelines

The Department of Justice is in the process of revising ADA regulations to establish specific guidelines for what makes an compliant website. However, it is unknown when these regulations will be released. The best thing for concerned businesses is to be proactive by becoming familiar with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines and ADA best practices. Here are 10 guidelines to get you started, and help you become more ADA compliant:¹

  1. Offer a text alternative for every non-text element so it can be changed to large print, braille, speech, symbols or a simpler language.
  2. Provide alternatives for audio-only and video-only media, including captions and audio descriptions.
  3. Make it easier for users to see and hear content, including separating foreground from background.
  4. Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  5. Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  6. Avoid designing content that is known to cause seizures. (Pages should not flash more than three times in any one-second period.)
  7. Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
  8. Make content readable and understandable through different mechanisms.
  9. Make website pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
  10. Maximize compatibility with current and future technologies, including assistive technologies.

Be proactive when it comes to ADA compliance: seek advice, follow the guidelines, and contact us if you have any questions.



¹Douglas Malan, The Financial Brand

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