Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits for inaccessible websites have been on the rise. Businesses are seeing complaints being filed over their website’s content not being user friendly for those with disabilities. For example, Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment had a lawsuit filed against them in January when a blind user was not able to access the entire site. The plaintiff sued for monetary damages along with requirements for Parkwood Entertainment to make their site ADA compliant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act only covers people with a disability. As written under the ADA, a disability can be defined as
- (1) Disability means, with respect to an individual:
- (i) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;
- (ii) A record of such an impairment; or
- (iii) Being regarded as having such an impairment.
Website compliance is not defined under the ADA. Courts are taking the lawsuits on a case-by-case basis. If you are unsure that your website is ADA compliant, start with the basics. Talk to your website developer about making the content accessible for audio translation. Also, make sure that all videos on your website are captioned for the blind with descriptions for the deaf. Another requirement is for drop down menus to be available for keyboard use as well as mouse use.
As the ADA states, “The primary purpose of the ADA Amendments Act is to make it easier for people with disabilities to obtain protection under the ADA.” As businesses continue to invest in their online presence, it is critical to make sure that all persons are able to access the website content. Because the laws regarding ADA website requirements are gray, it is suggested that businesses seek legal counsel for review. Online presence is an important part of many businesses. Investing in an ADA compliant website would insure that you are not excluding anybody from accessing the content on your website while possibly bringing in more business for your company.