With an upcoming update for the ADA (American with Disabilities Act), let’s take just a few minutes and talk about what this means for website owners. The ADA was signed into law in 1990, and was designed to prevent discrimination against marginalized groups. When you see a ramp next to a set of stairs or sign language interpreter, you’re seeing the effects of this law. What many people don’t know is the ADA’s effect on website accessibility.
The words “website accessibility” aren’t expressly written in the ADA, but the Title III section discusses discrimination in “places of public accommodation.” This phrase originally referred to brick and mortar stores, restaurants, and other places of business that were open to the public, but in recent years it’s also begun to apply to websites. After a landmark case in 2015 involving Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf, where a judge ordered the streaming company to include captions on all their videos and to pay $755,000 in fines, the ADA compliancy guidelines changed how we approach website accessibility.
But what does all this mean for you? Since that 2015 case, website providers have taken ADA guidelines seriously, which means your site should too. Though there are no official ramifications imposed by the Department of Justice for noncompliance, sites that don’t meet these guidelines are in danger of lawsuits similar to the Netflix case.
In 2017, DealerOn completed a year-long project that focused on adjusting pages and forms to meet ADA guidelines, and included working closely with our third party vendors. We strive to meet ADA guidelines by actively training our support, implementation, and design teams to spot common noncompliance issues, and we are always able to run audits and offer fixes for dealers who are concerned about their site’s accessibility.
The best course of action is to be prepared and stay informed. Know what guidelines are required and how your site can best meet them, and stay on top of new updates in the industry. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you can read up on ADA guidelines here.