ADA Website Compliance
The first website appeared on the internet on August 6th, 1991, a little more than a year after George H. W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act into law. Only 11 days after the DOJ published Title II and Title III regulations for governments and private entities that served the public.
Obviously, the ADA did not address website accessibility.
The ADA was a much-needed, well-intentioned response to 30 years of activism on behalf of the disabled. Anyone with an ounce of compassion can appreciate that everyone should have ample access to sidewalks, buildings, facilities, goods, and services.
Unfortunately, good intentions are often followed by unexpected consequences.
The DOJ had established website accessibility standards for state and local governments in 2003 but left non-governmental entities in the dark.
A 2006 class-action lawsuit against Target ended with a federal court ruling that the requirements of the ADA do apply to websites.
The Justice Department’s inability/refusal to honor their 2010 promise to provide clear ADA website accessibility compliance guidelines for private entities has opened the door to a new cottage industry. An industry with much appeal to the ambulance-chasers of the legal profession.
To the tune of 2200+ ADA website lawsuits filed in 2018, nearly triple the 800+ filed in 2017.
And it’s important to note that in the context of the ADA, “disability” is a legal term, not a medical term. You don’t technically have to have a disability to sue under the ADA.
What’s the Answer?
I spent many hours trying to decipher the many technical refinements required to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the “industry standard” for ADA online compliance.
I gave up.
The requirements are mind-bogglingly complicated for even the moderately tech-savvy, and even if you somehow got your site 100% compliant, you’re probably not done. Because accessibility is a process, not a project. Any changes to your site now require another evaluation for compliance.
So far I have found one, and only one, true and affordable solution. A company called accessiBe has replaced the costly, manual process with automated, state-of-the-art AI technology. A single line of code added to your website for 100% ADA and WCAG compliance, 24/7.
Not only am I protected from the threat of a lawsuit, but my website is now completely accessible to the 20% of the population who suffer from one or more disabilities. accessiBe is a godsend.