ADA: Public websites must be accessible

Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites? Last month, a New York City gallery owner was included in a class action lawsuit alleging that the gallery’s website was in violation of the ADA for sight-impaired users.

According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, websites should be made accessible for individuals with blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these.

Here are a few website guidelines:

Site content should be coded to permit a visually impaired person to use “screen-reading” software to convert text on a website to audio. Photos, images, videos and other non-text elements must have “alt” tags or text descriptions.
Interactive functions must be available via keyboard commands for those who can’t use a mouse.
The site’s color and text settings must be controllable by each visitor’s browser and operating system. For example, the visitor should be able to resize text up to 200% without losing content or functionality.

While the U.S. Department of Justice has not provided clear guidance about website compliance requirements, web designers can refer to requirements for federal websites:

Under Title III of the ADA, a plaintiff doesn’t get damages, but is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs and injunctive relief. We encourage our insured’s to have their websites updated to assure accessibility.

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