“ADA” Website Shakedowns

Making Your Website Accessible and ADA Compliant.

A number of clients have expressed concern about an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website compliance “shakedown.”
Yes, these legal actions are “shakedowns” pure and simple. Shakedowns that primarily benefit lawyers. 
Don’t I hate those lawyers?!
The number of complaints filed have increased drastically in recent years (2018 set a record, and 2019 has outpaced it), and this is something that should be on your radar.
The ADA is a strict liability law, so there are no excuses for non-compliance. Even if you settle, you still have to make your site compliant. And just because you get sued once, doesn’t mean you can’t get sued again.
ADA website compliance settlements typically range from $5,000-50,000. It’s worth noting that the plaintiffs bringing these actions aren’t entitled to damages under the law – just attorney’s fees.
The best way to ensure that your site is compliant is to request that your web developer create an accessible site at the outset.
If your site is already operational, and you want to take action to make it more accessible to individuals with disabilities, start with doing things as simple as: 
  • Adding alt text to major images on your site
  • Including closed captioning in all of your videos
  • Making sure all text is readable by a screen reader
Keep in mind that the ADA requires “the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations.” Ask yourself if your site provides this to persons with disabilities. I have highlighted some of the changes you can make easily, but there is likely more to be done.
Moreover, your business will benefit from having an accessible site. If disabled users can’t make purchases on your site, you’re losing conversions and revenue. E-commerce services like Shopify offer resources on how to make e-commerce sites accessible, and may have their own accessibility policies.
Thanks to Rachel Edelman for doing all the heavy lifting here.

by Peter Hoppenfeld