More and More Companies are Being Sued Because their Websites Aren’t ADA Compliant
About ADA Compliance
Website ADA compliance lawsuits are on the rise. In 2018, there was an astounding 181% increase and that number is set to triple in 2019. That’s right – triple. All industries are being faced with lawsuits, with the top four being Retail, Food Service, Travel/Hospitality, and Entertainment/Leisure.
We have already heard of plenty of wineries being sued and/or fined thousands of dollars, which can threaten the livelihood, or even ruin, a thriving business. The threat is real in Washington state and wineries cannot afford to ignore this issue.
- According to the New York Wine Grape Foundation, 38 New York wineries have been named in class action lawsuits
- In June of this year, 7 Seattle area hotels were named in ADA website compliance lawsuits
What is website ADA compliance?
Simply put, ADA compliance for websites means that the content and functions on your website are accessible and easy to use for people with disabilities. That means your website needs to include accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. (Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it?)
ADA website compliance is something we should all do to demonstrate the importance of each potential customer, no matter their needs.
How do I make my website compliant?
There is no certification you can achieve to say you are 100% ADA compliant and you are not required to address every user need for people with these disabilities. However, best practices state that following even the lowest level (AA) of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is a good place to start, and then working your way up to the highest level (AAA) and version 2.1 success criteria. (Brace yourself, if you click that link, your head might start spinning.)
So how do you wade through all that information and make your website compliant? We’ve done extensive research on this topic and identified four options in addressing this issue for your website:
Do nothing and take your chances
(Did we mention that lawsuits are on the rise?)
Manually update your website to address the issues outlined in the WCAG
(Who has time for that?)
Install plug-ins that address some of the issues outlined in the WCAG but do not provide full compliance
(That might reduce how much you're fined)
Utilize artificial intelligence provided by Crimson Vine Marketing to continually scan and update your website every 24 hours to comply with WCAG 2.1 at the AA level, ADA Section 508, and the EN 301 549 Mandate
(Now you're talking!)
Here are the pros and cons of each of these options:
You can opt to ignore this issue and take your chances; however, it’s inevitable you will need to take steps to make your website accessible to those with disabilities. By ignoring the issue, you may find yourself being sued and having to pay thousands of dollars plus attorney fees.
Manually Update Your Website
You do have the option of manually updating your website yourself or hiring a third party to manually make changes. This is a very time-consuming process, taking months to employ, and it’s difficult to make sure every requirement is met. Hiring a third-party company to maintain ADA compliance for your website can, over time, cost up to $30,000.
Install A Website Plugin
There are some free plugins available to install that will add an overlay to your website and provide basic accessibility changes. While the plugins take you a step in the right direction, they fail to bring your website up to the WCAG standards and provide only about 17% compliance. It shows you’ve tried to be compliant, however, does not protect you from a lawsuit.
Utilize Artificial Intelligence Software
The best solution that we have found in our research is to utilize artificial intelligence (AI). AI provides an overlay to your website and a vast array of options for users with different disabilities, leading to at least 96% compliance. The AI installs easily and begins working in less than 48 hours. It continually crawls your website every 24 hours to assure ongoing compliance. The integration blends seamlessly with your existing site and has a fully customizable dashboard.
Compliance is much more affordable than a lawsuit.
As we see the number of ADA website compliance lawsuits continue to rise, it underscores the importance of not ignoring this issue and taking the initiative to become compliant sooner rather than later. With good, affordable solutions available, it’s in the best interest of your winery to take measures to avoid a possible lawsuit and it demonstrates that you care.
Want to see how AI works for ADA website compliance? Click on the purple wheelchair icon to see it in action!