How To Prevent A Web Accessibility Lawsuit
Web accessibility lawsuits have increased dramatically over the past few years and with the current pandemic, it’s more important than ever for websites to be accessible. Since pretty much everything is online right now, you have to make sure customers can get information about your company on your website. If your website is too hard for people with disabilities to access, they could file a lawsuit against your company. The ADA (American Disability Act) requires all websites to be compliant to the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and if your website does not meet all of the guidelines, you could be sued. A web accessibility lawsuit could cost your company so much money, but it could easily be prevented by exploring one of these options.
The only way to prevent a web accessibility lawsuit is to make sure your website is completely accessible to everyone. When you are creating your website, you have to plan what you need to do to make it accessible. But if you don’t know how to add all of the accessibility features for it to be ADA compliant, it would be more of a risk trying to do it yourself. One option you can do is hire an accessibility specialist. Accessibility specialists are trained in the WCAG guidelines and accessibility laws.
The cause of most web accessibility lawsuits is websites being inaccessible to people who use assistive technologies. Accessibility specialists can go through your website and add the accessibility features it needs to be able to work with assistive technologies. If someone who is not trained in web accessibility tries to do it, your website might not work with assistive technologies correctly and that could lead to a lawsuit filed against you.
If your company can’t afford to hire an accessibility specialist, the next best thing you could do is test your website to see how accessible it is. It is more of a risk adding accessibility features yourself, but it’s possible to do it correctly on your own if you do enough research. There are free accessibility testing tools such as WAVE, Axe, or Tenon that you can use to see if there’s anything you need to fix. They will tell you exactly what accessibility errors your website has. Besides an accessibility testing tool, the other way you can see if your website is accessible is by trying to navigate it using only your keyboard. If you can’t navigate your website without a mouse, that means it has a major accessibility issue. Not everyone can use a mouse and that’s the only way some people with disabilities can access websites.
You could also try to use assistive technologies to see for yourself what it’s like for someone with a disability trying to access your website. You could download the screen reader, JAWS, or another screen reader to know if people with visual disabilities are able to access your website. There are accessibility settings on your phone you could try as well, so you can see if people with disabilities can access your website on their phones too. After you’ve tried all of these options, the best thing to do is read over the WCAG guidelines. That way you make sure you didn’t miss anything and your website meets all of the requirements.
Our company, Able IT Pros, can also offer you accessibility testing and consulting to help make sure every part of your website is accessible. We offer three different packages: the first one is testing and score only, the second one is testing, score, and recommendations, and the third one is custom development. We use an automated system to test your website and then our CEO, Nick Sinagra, personally tests each page and element in it. These two items determine the accessibility score. This is what is in the first package. The second package includes both of these plus recommendations on how to make your website more accessible. The third package gives you the choice of developing customized accessibility features for your website. All of these options will help make sure your website is accessible and your company won’t have to worry about a web accessibility lawsuit.