If your website is not accessible to people with disabilities, then it is not compliant with the law. With ADA-related lawsuits continuing to rise every year, it is more important now than ever to familiarize yourself with ADA guidelines and find out if your website violates them.

Even if these violations are completely unintentional, website owners will still be held completely liable. As a result, non-compliant websites risk hefty fines, lawsuits, potential settlements, and damage to their brand reputation.

Unfortunately, many websites today have accessibility barriers that prevent people with disabilities from effectively using their website and services. What are the most common accessibility violations cited in ADA-related lawsuits?

Common Website Accessibility (ADA) Violations

Low Contrast Text

Your website’s color contrast matters. In fact, low contrast text is actually the most common accessibility issue, and it is frequently mentioned in website accessibility lawsuits. An example of low contrast would be light-gray text overlaid on a light-colored background.

Low color contrast can make it very difficult for people with visual impairments to differentiate words from images, graphics, or backgrounds. As a result, web users with color blindness or low vision rely on sufficient color contrast in order to read text. The same reasoning applies to small, unreadable font sizes.

Missing Image Alt. Tags

People with eyesight-related disabilities rely heavily on screen readers to dictate webpage content aloud to them, including images. Since assistive technology like screen readers cannot yet scan and describe images to users on its own, websites must provide written text to describe the image.

Missing alternative text is another common ADA violation that has been cited in many digital accessibility lawsuits. Image alternative text (also known as, alt. text or alt. tags) provide a written description of visual content. Alt. text is essential for blind or vision-impaired individuals because it describes the appearance and function of an image they cannot see. These descriptions are then read aloud to blind or vision-impaired individuals via a screen reader.

Mouse-Only Navigation

Not everyone can use a computer mouse or see a cursor on the screen. As a result, users with motor impairments or visual impairments opt for keyboard navigation or voice-controlled navigation to effectively browse a website.  Consequently, to comply with ADA guidelines, a website must be fully operable with a keyboard alone. The Department of Justice (DOJ) specifically cites “mouse-only” navigation as a major accessibility concern on its ADA Guidance page.

Inaccessible Forms

Forms are a great way to encourage people to interact with your website. They’re also commonplace online and necessary to carry out everyday activities, such as online shopping or filling out a job application. However, people with visual disabilities may not be able to fill out, understand, or submit a form on your website without clear instructions, labels that screen readers can read aloud, and error indicators. As a result, forms missing labels and forms that use color-based error indicators are not ADA-friendly.

Without labeled form elements, users don’t know what they are navigating to or what kind of response the form is expecting. As a result, visually-impaired users may not be able to fill out their credit card or delivery information to complete a transaction, barring them from using a business’s services.

Is Your Website Inaccessible? What’s the Solution?           

By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers. Ensuring that individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments can effectively use your website may sound overwhelming and complicated—but there is a fully-compliant solution all businesses can easily integrate onto their website.

AI-Powered Accessibility Widget

Sun Sign Designs offers the digital accessibility solutions needed for your website to meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget onto your website, so your business can remain accessible to all individuals. We offer an easy, secure compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

To find out more about ADA website compliance, how you can provide equal access and protect your business, contact Sun Sign Designs today!

Last year saw a significant rise in the number of lawsuits filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against people with disabilities—whether in physical stores or their online websites. Many of the world’s largest companies have undergone litigation and been required to make their websites more accessible.

In 2021, more than 2,800 lawsuits were filed in federal court about the accessibility of websites, a 14 percent increase from those filed in 2020. Though 2022’s numbers haven’t been solidified yet, it has been approximated that about 100 ADA-based website accessibility lawsuits were filed per week. It is predicted that the final number will be more than 4,400 lawsuits in 2022 alone—which would be a 75 percent increase in the last two years.

Why this major rise in website accessibility lawsuits? This significant increase has been the result of growing awareness of the importance of web accessibility. More and more people are becoming aware of both the social responsibility and the legal necessity of website accessibility and equal access for disabled individuals—especially as more education, employment, entertainment, business activities, and communications move primarily online.

What Happens if Your Website Isn’t ADA Compliant?

There is no defense for inaccessibility.

In most cases of noncompliance, it is completely unintentional. Even if website owners are unaware of ADA Compliance standards, they will still be held completely liable. Every website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility,” regardless of who designs the website.

As a result, failure to meet ADA Compliance can result in lawsuits, legal fees, hefty fines, potential settlements, public relations problems, and damage to your brand reputation. First-time violations can result in fines ranging from $55,000-$75,000 and then a $150,000 fine for every repeat violation. In addition to these fines, citizens can file lawsuits against your business or organization for being unable to access it, which could result in a large settlement.

If your website is not ADA Compliant, you can end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and lawsuits. How can you protect your business now and prevent legal action in the future?

Becoming ADA Compliant Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult or Expensive

By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers. The goal here is to deflect future claims, prevent fines, and mitigate legal risk while also providing equal access, inclusive accommodations, and user-friendly solutions. Additionally, ADA-compliant websites also expand audience reach, enrich SEO efforts, improve brand reputation, enhance overall user experiences, and offer businesses tax benefits.

But what does an ADA-complaint website look like exactly? Well, there are no clear regulations. However, websites must make an effort to offer “reasonable accessibility” to people with disabilities. Unlike ADA Compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t a legal requirement. However, it provides helpful recommendations for businesses looking to improve their digital accessibility. WCAG focuses on assisting individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. Some digital accommodations include: providing text alternative for images, providing transcript or captions for audio and video content, allowing keyboard navigation and operation, and more. This may sound overwhelming and complicated, but there is an easy solution.

The Solution? An AI-Powered Accessibility Widget

Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget onto your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

To find out more about ADA website compliance, how you can provide equal access and protect your business, contact Sun Sign Designs today!

Increased Inclusivity & Accessibility

The best benefit for your business when your website becomes ADA compliant is knowing you are doing the right thing, both for your audience and for your business. Providing equal access and opportunity to your website and business is not only the right thing to do in terms of equity and inclusion, but it’s a smart decision for website performance and reaching a wider audience.

Expand Your Services & Products to a Significant Portion of the Population

If your website is not already ADA compliant, you are automatically missing out on millions of potential customers or clients who cannot reasonably access your website due their disabilities. According to the CDC, 25 percent of the population, or approximately 61 million individuals, live with some form of disability.

That is a significant segment of the population. If your website is not compliant, they may arrive at your website unable to navigate or access your services—all because your website is only accessible to people without disabilities. As a result, these individuals would have good reason to move on to your competitor. Providing reasonable website accessibility options allows more of the population to easily explore your brand, buy your products, or use your services much more efficiently and effectively.

Enhanced Usability & User Experience

Creating a more operable, navigable website ultimately benefits all users. Ensuring that your web pages are easy to comprehend allows everyone, disabled or not, to find what they are looking for quickly. More often than not, people will leave a website that is difficult to navigate and understand, even if they are interested in that business. As a result, ADA Compliance helps your business guide more people through your sales funnel and convert quality leads. Not to mention, using a website that focuses on ease of use leaves a positive first impression.

Build a Positive Brand Reputation

Providing unimpeded access to an audience who is often forced to advocate for themselves will resonate well with your target audience and those living with some form of disability. Simply put, the modern consumer prefers to do business with socially responsible brands. By taking a proactive approach with ADA Compliance, businesses show that they are strong advocates for equal opportunity and equal access.

Not to mention, consumers take heart knowing that they are dealing with a business that cares about them and sees them as valuable. This builds trust with consumers and creates a positive brand reputation. As a result, ensuring your website is ADA compliant not only shows that you care about your customers or clients beyond their business with your company, but it is also a great opportunity to get some positive press for your brand.

Enrich SEO Efforts

ADA-compliant content provides a direct benefit to SEO. Image descriptions, video captions, and other forms of descriptive texts that enable disabled users to use your website actually overlap with SEO efforts by providing more text-based content for search engines and screen readers to “crawl,” ultimately improving your SEO performance.

Now more than ever, search engines are evolving to “crawl” website pages with more intention. Screen readers, a key element of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), will crawl websites just like search engines. As a result, websites that meet WCAG guidelines are more likely to be found by more users, search engines, and screen readers.

A key element of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers, and these reader will crawl your website pages just like a search engine. If your website meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), it will likely appeal to more users, search engines, and screen readers, ultimately improving your SEO efforts.

Mitigate Legal Action

In most cases of noncompliance, it is completely unintentional. Even though website owners aren’t intentionally ignoring these standards, they will be held completely liable. Every website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility.” Regardless of who builds and develops the website, it is the website owner that is responsible for implementing the accessibility standards and personally liable for noncompliance.

Failure to meet ADA Compliance can result in lawsuits, legal fees, hefty fines, potential settlements, public relations problems, and damage to your brand reputation. First-time violations can result in fines from $55,000-$75,000 and then a $150,000 fine for every repeat violation. In addition to these fines, citizens can file lawsuits against your business or organization for being unable to access it, which could result in a large settlement.

Maintaining an ADA-compliant website helps protect your business against potential lawsuits and fines in addition to providing inclusive accommodations for all of your customers.

Is Your Business ADA Compliant?

Does your business need help becoming ADA Compliant?

Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget into your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

Want to discuss digital accessibility and ADA Compliance in more depth? Contact us today to schedule a strategy session.

The New Year presents a fresh start and new opportunities to improve your business. With the start of the New Year, now is the perfect time to reflect on your business and decide what you want to do different.

Sun Sign Designs is encouraging all businesses to add this goal to their list:

Ensure Your Website is ADA Compliant.

Digital accessibility provides people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with digital content confidently and independently. Making digital accessibility a priority for your business’s website is the best New Year’s resolution. Why? Because everyone deserves the opportunity to access and enjoy your business’s website without difficulty.

With more than 1 billion people around the world using assistive technology, there is an obvious need for websites to be accessible to all of their users. Through this one resolution, your business will become more inclusive, expand audience reach, mitigate legal risk, and enhance brand reputation.

What is ADA Compliance?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legally requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Your business’s website falls under Title III of ADA and is considered a place of public accommodation. As a result, the website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility.” Failure to meet ADA compliance can result in lawsuits, fines, and damage to your brand reputation—but most importantly, it prevents a portion of your audience from using your website.

What Your Business Can Do To Improve Digital Accessibility This Year

In today’s age, digital experiences pervade nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s important to make those experiences available to everyone. What can your business do this year to improve its digital accessibility?

  1. Perform a Digital Accessibility Audit

Learning where your website currently lacks ADA Compliance is the first step to improving your digital accessibility. Evaluating your website and finding its shortcomings in digital accessibility will give your business a clear path to move toward a more inclusive digital experience. When done right, the audit will help your business identify accessibility barriers on your website and help you understand how well your digital content currently conforms to accessibility standards like WCAG.

  1. Get Familiar with WCAG Guidelines

Unlike ADA Compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t a legal requirement. However, it is the most-referenced set of standards in website accessibility lawsuits and is widely considered the best way to achieve website accessibility. In fact, even certain court rulings have ordered businesses in breach of ADA to rebuild their websites with WCAG standards in mind. Even though WCAG isn’t mentioned specifically in ADA, it does provide the gold standard for website accessibility.

WCAG is a set of digital accessibility standards that focus on assisting individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. It is organized into four major categories: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). Review POUR in more depth here.

  1. Focus on User Experience

When designing your website, focus on the experience of all users. This means your website’s elements are easily accessible to all. No user will have to ask for features that will accommodate them. Rather, those inclusive features will be available as soon as they land on your site. How can you provide inclusive features as soon as your customers land on your website? Read on below.

  1. Implement an Accessibility Tool

Digital accessibility tools like widgets make websites immediately available to every web user and ensure websites are ADA compliant.  Using an accessibility widget is an affordable solution that simplifies and streamlines digital accessibility. Widgets provide an interface that allows all users to customize the website to their individual needs. As a result, users can personally adjust your site’s design to suit their accessibility needs. This could include changing font sizes, switching to keyboard navigation, using a screen reader, changing color contrasts, and more.

Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your business’s website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget into your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

  1. Have an Accessibility Statement

By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers. With that said, it is also important for your business to have a statement outlining your ADA Compliance efforts and inviting users to give your business feedback.

With an accessibility statement, your business will show users that you care about accessibility and about them, provide customers information about the accessibility of your content, demonstrate social responsibility, and display a strong commitment to inclusivity on the Internet.

 

Want to discuss digital accessibility and ADA Compliance in more depth? Contact us today to schedule a strategy session.

Digital accessibility is focused on designing or adapting digital spaces, content, and tools—like websites or apps—so people with disabilities can use them. Digital accessibility provides people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with digital content confidently and independently.

With more than 1 billion people around the world using assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software, there is an obvious need for websites to be accessible to all of their users. How accessible is your business’s website?

What is ADA Compliance?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legally requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Your business’s website falls under Title III of ADA and is considered a place of public accommodation. As a result, the website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility.” Failure to meet ADA compliance can result in lawsuits, fines, and damage to your brand reputation—but most importantly, it prevents a portion of your audience from using your website.

What is WCAG?

Unlike ADA Compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t a legal requirement. However, it is the most-referenced set of standards in website accessibility lawsuits and is widely considered the best way to achieve website accessibility. In fact, even certain court rulings have ordered businesses in breach of ADA to rebuild their websites with WCAG standards in mind. Even though WCAG isn’t mentioned specifically in ADA, it does provide the gold standard for website accessibility.

WCAG is a set of digital accessibility standards that focus on assisting individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. It is organized into four major categories: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR).

1. Perceivable

All content and website components must be presented in a way all users can perceive. This means every user who visits your website should have the means to perceive, or comprehend, information, such as your website’s text, images, or video. Users must be given the option to achieve this either directly or through alternative options, such as text alternatives like a text transcript or audio captions for a video.

2. Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable for all users. This means all website users should have the ability to navigate your website and use its features. Users should not have an issue using main navigation, a search bar, or other tools. Websites can implement keyboard accessibility to allow users to navigate the site and find content via their keyboard.

3. Understandable

Your website, content, and digital operations must perform in a way and be accessed in a way that is easy to predict and understand. This means users must be able to understand the information and the basic operation of the website, being both readable and predictable.

4. Robust

Your website and content must be “robust” enough so they are compatible with assistive technologies and can be reliably interpreted by assistive technologies. Essentially, your website must provide all site visitors with the same experience.

WCAG Compliance Levels

WCAG Compliance has different levels of conformance depending on how much a website implements. Each level consists of higher adherence with more robust, comprehensive standards.

A: This is the most basic level. It is fairly easy to achieve with minimal impact to a website’s structure or design.

AA: This level is the most commonly referenced in legal proceedings. According to previous rulings, achieving AA standards of WCAG compliance makes a website acceptably accessible.

AAA: This is the most comprehensive standard for digital accessibility and includes a higher set of benchmarks in order to achieve it.

Digital Accessibility Benefits

Maintaining an ADA-compliant website helps protect your business against potential lawsuits and fines in addition to providing inclusive accommodations for all of your customers. ADA-compliant websites expand audience reach, enrich SEO efforts, improve brand reputation, enhance user experience, and offer businesses tax benefits.

By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers.

Is Your Business ADA Compliant?

Does your business need help becoming ADA Compliant?

Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget into your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

To find out more about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, contact Sun Sign Designs today!

Disability affects 1 in 4 Americans. Is your website accessible to them?

What is ADA Compliance?

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is often associated with physical locations and accommodations certain businesses must make for people with disabilities. You might think of wheelchair accessibility or Braille for visually-impaired customers. However, ADA also extends to the digital sphere.

ADA Compliance refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. In 2010, the United States Department of Justice passed these digital accessibility standards for all public organizations to follow, so those with disabilities have access to all electronic information and technology. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that mandates the inclusion of all people, especially those with disabilities, in all sectors of public life.

Who Needs to Follow ADA Compliance?

ADA Compliance is sometimes confused with 508 Compliance, which strictly applies to federal agencies and federal departments. On the other hand, ADA Compliance applies to the general public, specifically to businesses, nonprofits, local governments, and state governments. In short, if your business or organization caters to the general public, then your website must be ADA Compliant.

Since ADA Compliance broadly encompasses all electronic information and technology, which includes the Internet and the websites on it, it is more likely than not that your website needs to be ADA Compliant.

Who is Responsible for ADA Compliance?

In most cases of noncompliance, it is completely unintentional. Even though website owners aren’t intentionally ignoring these standards, they will be held completely liable. Every website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility.” Regardless of who builds and develops the website, it is the website owner that is responsible for implementing the accessibility standards and personally liable for noncompliance.

What Happens if Your Website Isn’t ADA Compliant?

Failure to meet ADA Compliance can result in lawsuits, legal fees, hefty fines, potential settlements, public relations problems, and damage to your brand reputation. Even if website owners are unaware of ADA Compliance standards, they will still be held completely liable. First-time violations can result in fines from $55,000-$75,000 and then a $150,000 fine for every repeat violation. In addition to these fines, citizens can file lawsuits against your business or organization for being unable to access it, which could result in a large settlement.

If your website is not ADA Compliant, you can end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and lawsuits. What can you do?

Becoming ADA Compliant

Maintaining an ADA-compliant website helps protect your business against potential lawsuits and fines in addition to providing inclusive accommodations for all of your customers. ADA-compliant websites expand audience reach, enrich SEO efforts, improve brand reputation, enhance user experience, and offer businesses tax benefits.

But what does an ADA-complaint website look like exactly? Well, there are no clear regulations. However, websites must make an effort to offer “reasonable accessibility” to people with disabilities. Unlike ADA Compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t a legal requirement. However, it provides helpful recommendations for businesses looking to improve their digital accessibility. WCAG focuses on assisting individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. Some digital accommodations include: providing text alternative for images,providing transcript or captions for audio and video content, allowing keyboard navigation and operation, and more.

By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers.

Is Your Business ADA Compliant?

Does your business need help becoming ADA Compliant?

Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget into your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.

To find out more about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, contact Sun Sign Designs today!