Written by 5ivecanons Staff
The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Civil Rights Law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The responsibilities of maintaining this law falls under the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
In the past, they have been responsible for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the braille writings you see under signs, wheelchair ramps near building entrances, and handicapped parking spaces. These have already bettered the lives of the 56.7 million Americans with a disability.
Starting in January 2018, according to the law,
“all technology that falls under Section 509 standards will be required to meet new ADA accessibility standards. Websites fall under Section 508 standards”
This means that websites are now by law required to be compliant and accessible to those with disabilities. The ADA will have a guideline listing what websites must do to be compliant. There are Four Principles to be ADA Compliant
Many users that have disabilities use assistive technology to help them understand what is on a specific website. However, those technologies can be pointless if you’re website isn’t designed to help them work. Some of the most basic and fixable problems are:
By fixing these small problems, you’ve already done a lot to help those with disabilities use your website.
Besides the fact it’s becoming mandatory, it’s a really good thing to do. You’re helping make your website easier to use for entire group of people who already have trouble navigating websites.
It’s also beneficial for you too. You’re introducing a whole new client/user base to your website. They’re much more likely to use your website knowing that you took the extra step to make it accessible to them.
Of course it’ll be hard for the ADA to make sure every websites is compliant. Disabled users however will notice and could sue you. Recently, Winn-Dixie was faced with a ADA compliance lawsuit and lost. On June 12th, Judge Robert Scola of the Southern District of Florida stated,
“The factual findings demonstrate that Winn-Dixie’s website is inaccessible to visually impaired individuals who must use screen reader software.”
He also stated that since the Winn Dixie website is very much integrated with the store’s physical store locations, it is subject to follow the ADA.
Business.com states “If you are a business owner who hasn’t made provisions to ensure that your website and other online assetsare ADA compliant, you could be looking at a host of legal and financial penalties.”
One thing that many people have been doing is contacting a qualified web design agency. They can do audits of your online properties and check to see if they are ADA complaint. If still have violations, the agency will make a list of them and help create a plan for you to update your website. If you would rather do it yourself, the ADA has released a guide book or “Tool Kit” for you to follow here
Here is the actual statement from the ADA itself on the new laws
So there you have it! It won’t be too difficult, it may just take some time. In the end, it’s definitely worth it.
Quantum: Image Source
Are You? Image Source
Love Actually Image Source
Penguins Image Source
Winn Dixie Dog Image Source
The Office Image Source