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At one time, it seemed unfathomable that your organization could be subject to a lawsuit because of the accessibility — or lack thereof — of your website content. Yet, accessibility lawsuits have been on the rise since 2017, with cases increasing by a rate of 184% between 2017 and 2018 alone. The basis of these cases is digital discrimination, and the courts hold that, as with their physical locations, businesses must make their online stores accessible to all persons, regardless of their abilities. These cases hinge on two sets of laws: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
3 Tips for Avoiding a Discrimination Lawsuit
Ideally, you will work with an attorney who can give you expert advice on accessibility laws. However, the following three tips can help you make your website more accessible for the time being.
1. Refer to the WCAG 2.0 Checklist
Per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, certain features make a website more accessible than others. The most common are as follows:
- Properly formatted text and headings
- Alt-text for images
- Properly formatted lists
- Italics and bold to convey meaning
- Closed captioning on audio and visual elements
- Video and audio players that start automatically or that contain controls
- Optimal color contrast between text and background
These elements are just the tip of the iceberg. Routine testing can help you pinpoint additional features to incorporate.
2. Stay Up-to-Date on Legal Standards
The WCAG is ever-changing, and the ADA receives periodic amendments as well. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for noncompliance. Consult with a legal professional on a regular basis to remain in compliance with all regulations.
3. Embrace Accessibility
Businesses across every industry — from retail and food service to hospitality and entertainment — have been hit by accessibility lawsuits. Many of these businesses tried to circumvent requirements, to no avail. What you can learn from these brands and previous cases is that it is better to be safe than sorry. Embrace digital accessibility to its fullest to protect your reputation and bottom line.
Addressing all digital accessibility issues can be a time-consuming and complex task. See how Amnet can offer support every step of the way.