You may have seen multiple articles online about web accessibility and how it may affect your business. If your website is not ADA compliant you will be at a risk of a lawsuit. With so much information floating around, we wanted to put together a quick cheat sheet of what you need to know for web accessibility in 2020.

The Rise of ADA Web-Related Lawsuits

Since 2018, ADA web-related lawsuits have been on the rise. In 2019, there were more than 2,000 new website accessibility lawsuits filed in the federal courts. Because website accessibility was in the public eye more than ever before, there was an explosion of lawsuits that led to interesting news articles. For instance, Beyonce was sued for not having an ADA compliant website and The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that none of the 2020 presidential candidates (Democrat or Republican) had accessible websites. And of course, the biggest headline was at the end of 2019 when the Supreme Court decided not to hear the Robles v. Dominos Pizza, LLC case which was seen as a major victory for disability advocates and caused a flood of ADA web-related lawsuits in the first months of 2020. With there being a steady rise year after year, it can be predicted that 2020 will be no different.

Here’s What to Expect in 2020 

The most targeted industries in 2020 will be education, hospitality, banking and retail. However, that will not stop other industries from being targeted. According to UsableNet, 60% of the lawsuits from 2019 were in the retail industry and 40% of the top 100 US restaurant chains received an ADA web-related lawsuit.

Because the Americans with Disabilities Act Website Accessibility guidelines are not clear, courts refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 as the standard used to determine if a website is compliant. These guidelines cover a wide range of disabilities that you may have no considered before. When reviewing your website for compliance this year, be sure to keep the WCAG 2.1 along with different disabilities in mind.

What is the WCAG 2.1? 

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines currently has four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. These guidelines will help you have a ADA compliant website for 2020.

Perceivable: All components of the website are visible to all the senses.

Operable: Anyone regardless of their disability, can navigate your website.

Understandable: Everyone must be able to understand the copy that is being displayed.

Robust: Your website must be compatible with a wide variety of assistive technologies.

For a more in-depth explanation of the five principles click here.

The Disabilities Your Website Needs to be Accessible To in 2020

There are many reasons why someone may be experiencing a disability. Someone might have a disability resulting from a birth defect, an accident, illness or it may develop with age. Whether the disability is permanent or temporary, it’s good to be aware of the most common types and what those people affected require in order to successfully browse your site. Please note that this is not a complete list of all disabilities and barriers, but rather the most common ones.

Auditory

Auditory disabilities can be mild, moderate or substantial. In order to use the web effectively, people with auditory disabilities rely on:

– Transcripts and captions of audio content

– Options to stop, pause and adjust the volume of the content (besides by using the system’s volume)

Cognitive, Learning, and Neurological 

These disabilities include neurodiversity and neurological disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health disorders that aren’t necessarily neurological.

– Clearly structured content

– Consistent labels of forms, buttons and other content

– Simpler text

– Different ways of navigating the site

Physical

Physical disabilities (also referred to as motor disabilities) include weakness and limitations in the control of muscles. Your website must have or be able to connect to:

– Specially designed keyboard or mouse

– On-screen keyboard

– Voice recognition and other approaches for hands-free interaction

Speech

These disabilities cause someone to have difficulty in producing speech that can be understood by others. Because it may be difficult to communicate with others, they rely on text-based forms of interaction such as a text-based chat.

Visual 

Like hearing disabilities, visual disabilities range from mild to moderate or can be substantial. To be able to navigate your site, it needs:

– Enlarging or reducing text size and images

– Have image alt tags in the site’s code

– Be compatible with or have text reading software

– Audio descriptions of audio

Based on the WCAG 2.1 and the different types of disabilities, it may seem like you’ll have to redo your whole website. However, that’s not the case with our easy to use software. We can install it to your site to make it accessible to these disability types.

Our software features will make your website ADA compliant by following the WCAG 2.1. With a quick click of a button, users can adjust your website’s content to make it ADA compliant. Try it for yourself by clicking the blue accessibility button on the bottom right of our website.

Contact us today to schedule a demonstration of our software!