Business Websites Need to Be ADA Compliant or Risk Being Sued

If your business website is not in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), it needs to be – soon!

Businesses across the country are being sued for millions of dollars for not having websites that meet the minimum compliance requirements set forth by the ADA Law of 1990 and the Department of Justice technical memorandum addressing website accessibility.

Just recently, a group of law firms has begun suing businesses that are not in compliance with the ADA Law and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, which outlines enforceable regulations.

Companies like:

  • Target,
  • Bath & Body Works LLC,
  • Giant Food Stores LLC,
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc.,
  • Express Inc.,
  • Office Depot Inc.,
  • DSW Inc.,
  • American Eagle Outfitters Inc., and
  • JC Penny have all been served.

In Target’s case, the settlement was for $6,000,000 and $20,000 was paid to a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping the blind.

But it’s not just blind consumers that businesses need to consider. The ADA Law and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have regulations in place that calls for websites to accommodate individuals who are deaf, visually and/or audibly impaired. All of these individuals have specific requirements that need to be met when they engage with your website online and it better be accessible or else you may find yourself on the other end of a lawsuit.

ADA Compliance Businessman SuedBelieve it or not, your business website needs to be built with specific features so individuals with various disabilities are able to access it and navigate through it like anyone else. If not, you’re placing your business in jeopardy.

What Does a Business Website Need to be ADA Compliant?

Businesses need to ensure they are providing the same information to whoever comes upon their websites. When it comes to visitors with disabilities, they should be able to engage in the same types of transactions that are available to the average public consumer.

Website compliance, in terms of the ADA Law and WCAG, is based on the needs of individuals who are blind, deaf, visually and/or audibly impaired.  Each of these groups has specific needs and, in most instances, these needs are unique to that group.

Part of the settlement in the Target case called for the company to ensure “that blind guests using screen-reader software may acquire the same information and engage in the same transactions as are available to sighted guests with substantially equivalent ease of use.”

A screen reader is one of two specific mechanical devices that are used to support disability groups under the law. The other is a braille reader.  Constructing a website that works with these devices is an absolute requirement.  Additionally, there are other nuances, like colors, screen size adjustment, and fonts, all of which must be addressed.

Other Key Website Requirements to Protect Your Business

There are hundreds of features that need to be evaluated on business websites to ensure compliance. Five primary areas that need to be evaluated to determine whether or not a website meets ADA requirements include:

  1. Text Tags: Do your images include Alt. text tags? These are needed so screen readers and braille readers can interpret the image.
  2. PDF Files: If your website includes PDF files for reading or downloading, is there an HTML or Rich Text Format alternative? Since PDF’s are basically images, they need to have text equivalents so readers are able to interpret them.
  3. Web Browser Adjustments: Does your website allow the images, colors, and fonts to be adjusted by the web browser being used by the viewer? Being able to adjust these three elements of your website is important for visually impaired viewers who may need different contrasts and sizes to see what’s on your website.
  4. Size Adjustments: Does your website allow size adjustment of its content? Often impaired viewers cannot take in the entire screen and need to focus on a specific area by expanding it to interpret the information.
  5. Text Captions: Do your web pages have text captions, i.e. title tags, meta descriptions, and H1-H5 tags that summarize the pages, images, and paragraphs of the website? This is required to make videos and audio tracks understandable to those individuals who may have visual or auditory challenges.

How to Get Started?

The first step you need to take to protect your business is to have your website analyzed for ADA compliance.  Icon Website Design has the tools to do this analysis. We are handling several clients who have been sued under this act and are making expeditious moves to bring their websites into compliance.

We know what to look for and how to add or fix what’s required to keep your business safe.

Get a Free Website Analysis

If you’re not sure if your website is compliant, contact Icon Website Design. We’ll provide you with a free written report on your website’s compliance level. Our website design professionals will evaluate primary areas in your website to determine whether or not it meets the minimal levels outlined under the ADA and WCAG guidelines. Do it today before it’s too late!

Get your free ADA compliance review evaluation by contacting us today.

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Staying Ahead of the Competition with Your Fort Lauderdale Website Design

You’re trying to decide on which Fort Lauderdale website design company is the best one for your business. Be careful! There are many of them that may show you a lot of razzle-dazzle, but is there any substance to their web design?

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, Nor a Fort Lauderdale Web Design

When it comes to substance for web design in Fort Lauderdale, businesses need to know that the prettiest ones with the fanciest additions may not provide you with what you really need or want. Like the saying goes: it isn’t about the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts! Outside appearances are important. You do want visitors to your Fort Lauderdale web design site to find it visually appealing and easy to navigate, but you’ve first got to get customers to your website.

A website that gets top rankings in search engine results is key to reaching your customers. This means you’ve got to keep your website relevant with fresh content, up-to-date with the latest in technology, the latest software upgrades, and a professional Fort Lauderdale website design team that is willing to work with you long after the initial website design is complete.

Support and Maintenance from Your Fort Lauderdale Website Design Team

Before businesses commit to a Fort Lauderdale website design team, they need to know what type of support and maintenance will be offered as part of the website design package. This is critical because your website will need to keep up with the constant technology changes happening all around the Web.

From browser updates and changes in operating systems to displays, resolutions, and general software upgrades, the web design company you choose will need to be able to communicate those changes to you effectively and consistently so that your business website doesn’t become irrelevant and inaccessible.

Services your web design team should provide for you at the initial launch and thereafter if you want them to include:

  • Content Changes: Content changes are to be expected. With any dynamic business, things change. From service and product offerings to prices, location, personnel, and so many other things, changes will happen and should be reflected on your website. You need to ask the website design team about the process of updating content and what the process entails, including the amount of time it may take to get these updates up on the website design and live.
  • Bug Fixes: Glitches are just part of web design and development. It happens every once-in-a-while even to the most perfectly designed website. You will want to review the web design company’s policy is for fixing errors or bugs on your site.
  • Technology Upgrades: No one wants their website to go down but it will if technology upgrades are not maintained. Code changes, new hardware features, and continuous browser updates are a sure thing. Your website design team should keep you aware of any updates that might affect your website design and take the measures necessary to keep your website design updated with the latest codes and upgrades.

Talk to an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Website Design Team

If you are interested in updating or building a business website, talk to the experienced website design team at Icon Website Design. Fort Lauderdale businesses know where to find the technical expertise and solid reliability for their website – it’s at Icon Website Design. That’s where you want it to be. We are ready to not only help you get top rankings in search engine results but will be your technology partner every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about website design packages and SEO service, maintenance and support. We look forward to designing a custom website just for you!

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