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Understanding Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA is the acronym for the American with Disabilities Act enacted in the year 1990. It is unlawful for an employer with 15 or more individual to discriminate against a qualified individual having a disability.

The American with Disabilities prohibits the discrimination of people having disabilities and ensures equal opportunities accessible to them.

It ensures equal opportunities in local, state, and federal agencies along with public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation. 

What should I know about ADA compliance?

ADA compliance is mandatory for website that receives federal funding. It mandates sites to offer access to individuals having disabilities by making them accessible.

The ADA Act’s original intention was to protect against the discrimination of individuals having disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act will be applicable to the business in the following condition:

  • If your business benefits the public 
  • If your business is a local, state, or government agency 
  • If you are an employer with 15 or more working employees 

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated the removal of physical barriers that delayed the inclusion of individuals having disabilities in public accommodations.

When this particular law was passed in the 90s, the Internet was in its infancy stage. In relation to such, language used in the law did not demonstrate whether or not the ADA encompasses website accessibility.

The Litigation Problem

There are no defined standards that guide website accessibility, but it doesn’t limit several businesses from being dragged into lawsuits.

It is found that few businesses need to pay thousands of dollars in settlement to plaintiffs in violation of the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to information provided by Seyfarthm, ADA Title III, and Insight Blog, there has been a 180% increase in the number of ADA litigation cases from 2017 to 2018, which isn’t likely to reduce soon.

Some serial plaintiffs exploit the loopholes not to enhance accessibility, but for personal benefit. In such cases, organizations must take effective action to protect their business against the setback that could come with a significant lawsuit.

Is your website ADA Compliant?

Organizations must demonstrate whether their website is ADA compliant or not to avoid any legal challenges or penalties. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provides the necessary set of guidelines to achieve web accessibility.

There is a need to understand that WCAG is not a law. If website conforms to WCAG, it doesn’t automatically mean that websites are ADA compliant as well.

The WCAG series of guidelines offers the powerful framework in working toward provide website accessibility for all users. The WCAG 2.0 version outlines four principles for accessible websites:

  • Perceivable 
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

Organizations need to keep in mind the needs of people with disabilities when designing their website. The disabilities include but are not restricted to, cognitive limitative, hearing impairment, low vision and blindness, limitation to movement and photosensitivity.

ADA Compliance Checklist

When designing a website several factors have to kept in mind. The most important thing that is often overlooked is website compliance with ADA law. It is required to make certain that the website is accessible to everyone because it makes it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Let us discuss some of the requirements required for ADA compliance. The below checklist will help to understand whether the company website is ADA compliant or not.

  • Color combination needs to assist in recognizing the content
  • Video and audio content must include a text caption
  • Image requires Alt text that screen reader software can make out
  • Alt text must allow resizing option
  • No flashing lights are allowed
  • Font style and text size need to be set in order to enhance readability
  • Clear keyboard focus 
  • Implementation of error prevention techniques 
  • Underlined text which doesn’t lead to an appropriate link

Is ADA compliance mandatory for websites?

No, not necessarily. However, there are some exceptions. If a website receives federal funds, then it must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This includes any site that provides services to the general public, such as government agencies, educational institutions, libraries, museums, and non-profit organizations.

As a business owner, you will be likely beginning to know more and more about regarding ADA website compliance.

The ADA website compliance requirements were put into practice to create online content accessible to an individual with disabilities including cognitive disabilities, motor, visual, and hearing.

If a website incorporates any text-based information, videos, or image that cannot be perceived by people with disabilities, then it needs to be made accessible following the ADA standards.

This looks to be a complex task, however, there are several steps available that an organization can follow to enhance its website accessibility.

The website must use high-contrast color so that individuals having disabilities can avail an easier time reading the content, or provide transcripts and captions of videos so that hearing-impaired people don’t miss out on any significant information.

 What Happens When a Website is not ADA-Compliant?

If a business owns and operates a place of public accommodation and the website is not accessible to an individual with disabilities, then does not comply with the law.

In such cases, the business can face legal action and fines of up to $25,000 per violation. Therefore, it is strictly advisable to make sure that the company website adheres to the list of ADA requirements to avoid legal complications.

ADA Website Compliance

ADA website compliance looks to be complex. But if neglected can lead to lawsuits and affect the brand reputation negatively.

Therefore, if the company website is not ADA-compliant, make sure to do it as soon as possible. The most simple and effective way to make sure that website is meeting ADA compliance standards is to consult professional web accessibility experts. They can help you to understand the specific rules that are required to avoid legal action.

How codemantra helps to achieve ADA compliance?

codemantra’s accessibilityInsight remediates digital documents such as PDFs, PPT, Word, Excel, e Pub and makes them accessible and compliant as per ADA, Section 508, Section 504, WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards.

We provide everything from self-help tools, audits, remediation, and implementation support to help you stay on top of accessibility challenges with a very cost-effective solution .

Contact us at 1 (800) 769-9715 or email us at engage@codemantra.com for more information on how to make your documents accessible.

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