Apex Trial Law continues to disseminate letters to website owners based on ADA compliance violations. Many small businesses without large budgets may be in violation of these accessibility requirements without even knowing it.
If you received a letter from Apex Trial Law or another law firm concerning ADA website compliance, it can be concerning and confusing. However, these lawsuits are getting more and more common. In 2017, 816 ADA Title III lawsuits were filed, but that number jumped to 2,200 cases in just the next year. These lawsuits are only continuing to grow, so don’t feel ashamed if you receive a demand letter — you just need to know how to fix the problem.
First of all, don’t panic. We’ll point out some of the factors that could have caused the delivery of the letter and direct you to a quality resource to optimize your site for ADA compliance with legal assurance.
ADA Compliance Factors
Just like wheelchair ramps and brail markings, businesses with over 15 employees have been required to make their buildings accessible to customers with disabilities, since the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Those requirements, however, no longer stop at the physical building. Companies now have to tailor their websites as well to follow similar compliances revolving around customer experience.
This means law firms like Apex Trial Law are sending out more and more demand letters if your website doesn’t allow for an accessible user experience.
So, what factors affect your website’s ADA compliance? Every situation can be different, but these are some of the most common areas where your website could be failing:
- No/few alt tags for images, videos, and audio files. These alt tags allow users with disabilities to hear or read descriptions of the content in order to understand it better. Alt tags are often customized to describe the object in the image/video and some context regarding its purpose on your site.
- Difficult, inconsistent website navigation. Your website should be easily navigable by keyboard and keyboard equivalents. If a user cannot find a category or product, they may think that it simply does not exist on your site.
- Site not optimized for top-down screen readers. Many blind users rely on screen readers that read from top to bottom on your site. So, if your content is not consistently ordered to appease these readers, you may make it difficult for users to understand the content in the order you’re presenting it.
- No captions or transcripts for video/audio content. Without accurate captions or transcripts, deaf users are not able to understand your content and interact normally with your website.
- Unclear page titles for categories, product pages. If your site’s page titles are not easily understood and match the rest of the content on the page, it could easily confuse users that rely on screen readers.
These are some issues that often plague websites and harm them from building meaningful website experiences with potential customers with disabilities. However, protecting your website from ADA compliance lawsuits is difficult to tackle on your own. And for companies with spanning sites, it can be overwhelming to work through each page to ensure proper accessibility.
So, Where Do You Turn?
The industry leader in automated web accessibility for ADA and other compliance acts is accessiBe, a fully customizable software that provides compliance without sacrificing website design and security. They also guarantee legislative compliance, so you can have peace of mind regarding future impending lawsuits.
accessiBe offers affordable pricing, and its mission isn’t simply to protect from compliance lawsuits but to open the internet to users with disabilities. Their AI capabilities allow for real-time adjustments of screen readers, keyboard navigation, and UI/design.
The state-of-the-art accessiBe software installs in a couple of minutes, optimizes your site in 48 hours, and scans the site every 24 hours for new content to enhance ADA compliance.
And, as always, feel free to contact us at Foremost Media if you need personalized assistance with ADA compliance or other web development issues.