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.
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.
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.