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Website Accessibility


Lawsuits taking the ‘public accommodation’ category by storm

Kristi Horstman
In recent years, website compliance in regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has become more and more of a concern and topic of conversation for businesses that operate for the benefit of the public. Believe it or not, a string of potential lawsuits and liability issues face any business that ignores the importance of ADA compliance, explaining why this topic has become extremely pressing.

Under Title I of the ADA, any business with at least 15 full-time employees that operates for 20 or more weeks per year is covered by the law. Likewise, Under Title III, businesses that fall into the category of "public accommodation," including hotels, banks, and public transportation, are also required to comply. This means that from physical considerations to digital considerations, the entirety of the law applies to these businesses.

In 2019 there were over 2,000 ADA website lawsuits filed in federal courts across the nation, up from 814, or roughly 40 percent, since 2017. One analysis of 10 million web pages found that 98 percent of website menus are not fully accessible.

The accessibility of a website is determined by a user’s ability to meaningfully engage with the content provided while keeping in mind how perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust a site is. Users must be able to perceive any and all images, videos, or text displayed, and an alternative must be provided for those that are unable to perceive certain content. Users must also be able to navigate through each feature on a site while clearly understanding the content provided. Businesses should also keep in mind the importance of providing users with the same experience on their websites regardless of which way the content is received. 

Fuseideas has worked with many businesses to make their websites ADA accessible. In an ADA compliance audit, we test each page of a website with an ADA compliance program that details any “red flags” on each page. As a result, our team implements the fixes necessary to meet compliance standards.

Fuseideas has the ability to cover compliance issues such as enabling keyboard navigation, which includes descriptions for all images, testing all forms provided on a site, and eliminating time-constrained elements, like the reservation or checkout process. From a visual standpoint, we also simplify and improve color contrast to make content reader-friendly, identify video or audio content that might require transcription, and avoid content which could trigger seizures or other physical reactions.

Business owners should expect to see a continued increase in ADA website lawsuits. By taking a proactive approach and making accessibility a priority, businesses will be doing themselves and their customers a great service.
 

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Fuseideas is a full-service marketing agency that implements a strategic blend of technology, media, creativity and experiences to help brands connect with human beings, and ultimately compete and win market share in a rapidly-evolving digital world and chaotic cultural landscape.
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