With an upcoming deadline for the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), let’s take just a few minutes and talk about what this means for website owners. The ADA was signed into law in 1990, and was designed to prevent discrimination against marginalized groups. When you see a ramp next to a set of stairs or sign language interpreter, you’re seeing the effects of this law. What many people don’t know is the ADA’s effect on website accessibility.
The words “website accessibility” aren’t expressly written in the ADA, but the Title III section discusses discrimination in “places of public accommodation.” This phrase originally referred to brick and mortar stores, restaurants, and other places of business that were open to the public, but in recent years it’s also begun to apply to websites. After a landmark case in 2015 involving Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf, where a judge ordered the streaming company to include captions on all their videos and to pay $755,000 in fines, the ADA compliancy guidelines changed how we approach website accessibility.
But what does all this mean for you? Since that 2015 case, website providers have taken ADA guidelines seriously, which means your site should too. Though there are no official ramifications imposed by the Department of Justice for noncompliance, sites that don’t meet these guidelines are in danger of lawsuits similar to the Netflix case.
The best course of action is to be prepared and stay informed. Start performing regular audits for accessibility to stay two steps ahead, and know what guidelines are required and how your site can best meet them, and keep on top of new updates from the ADA. If you want to educate yourself, you can read up on ADA guidelines here.
Author: Mike Somerville
Mike Somerville is DealerOn’s VP of Customer Experience, and is a core part of the DealerOn team. He has led a complete restructuring and rebuilding of DealerOn’s account management teams and is is universally loved by customers. His website optimization expertise combined with his retail sales expertise areinvaluable assets to DealerOn’s clients.