By Sarah Morgan
As digital marketers, the LKF team tries to keep abreast of all the ever-changing guidelines and laws surrounding sound web development practices. One issue that is always at the top of the list is monitoring changes in requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. You might be thinking: Why the heck would a marketing firm care about ADA compliance?
In September 2010, the Department of Justice published the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This established a requirement that all electronic and information technology of government entities must be available to people with disabilities.
The law is such that only government sites MUST comply with ADA standards, yet people are still suing non-government organizations for non-compliance. Even Beyonce's website was sued!
The complaints against her site were put forth by a New York woman who has no vision. Her claims indicate that Beyonce.com is not accessible for the visually impaired.
"The one and only form of entertainment that truly presents an even playing field between the visually impaired and the sighted is the joy of music," wrote Dan Shaked, the woman's attorney. The Plaintiff dreams of attending a Beyonce concert and listening to her music in a live setting. However, when she browsed the Beyonce.com website, she encountered numerous barriers which limited her accessibility to the goods and services offered on the website," indicated an article by the Hollywood Reporter.
In situations such as this, images require alt-text so that a screen reader can translate the image content to a visually impaired user. By neglecting to code its images with alt-text, Beyonce.com is preventing a whole section of potential users from determining what is being shown on the website.
Beyonce.com is not the only high-profile website to face ADA compliance issues. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Domino's mobile app failed to provide accessibility by way of "auxiliary aids and services" for the disabled.
The government is still considering making accessibility on the web a requirement for all sites, but this has taken a lower priority in the current administration.
As stated in an article by Bromberg & Associates, "By approximately mid-2018, more than 1,000 federal lawsuits claiming website ADA discrimination had been filed in federal courts across the United States. This total marks a significant increase over lawsuits filed in 2017, then a record year for website accessibility litigation. Conceivably, the 2018 website ADA discrimination cases could exceed 2,000 by the end of 2018."
These lawsuits should serve as lessons for an organization to outfit their website, app, or any information technology with the proper coding and services. This means making your website compatible from top to bottom, whether it is as basic as readable labels or content that is compatible with a screen reader.
LKF is here to help. Creating and updating websites to comply with ADA requirements has been one of LKF Marketing's priorities for more than 10 years. We work diligently to code and design websites that are accessible to all audience members because that is the right thing to do.
Contact us about your site, ADA compliance, or any other concerns and questions. We would be happy to talk about your specific challenges and offer a free accessibility check.