Is Your Website ADA Compliant?


The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to make accommodations to people with disabilities, including such measures as wheelchair accessibility to physical locations, access to service animals and the use of braille. In addition to these physical considerations, Title III of the ADA requires businesses to maintain an accessible website.

What does that mean? The answer is not exactly clear, but these guidelines should help you get started toward building a truly accessible website, avoiding any penalties associated with the ADA and making your business more inclusive.

The first thing to understand about the ADA is which businesses are required to comply. Under Title I of the ADA, any business with at least 15 full-time employees that operates for 20 or more weeks every year is covered by the law. Under Title III, businesses that fall into the category of “public accommodations,” such as hotels, banks and public transportation, are also required to comply. That means the entirety of the law applies, from physical considerations to digital accommodations.

If your business falls under either Title I or Title III of the ADA and you do not believe you are compliant, consult with a disability lawyer and explore your options.

When it comes to business websites, there are no clear rules. That doesn’t let businesses off the hook, though; they still must provide an accessible website that takes into account users with disabilities.

“As far as websites go, there is no federally codified direction on how to make websites comply,” said David Engelhardt, a New York City-based small business attorney. “We only know that the ADA does apply to websites based on cases such as [Gil v. Winn-Dixie].”

What’s the best way to build an ADA-compliant website if there isn’t a clear definition of what that means? There are a few actions you can take to set you on the right path toward ADA compliance, or at least help you demonstrate that your business has made a good-faith effort toward accommodation, should you ever wind up in court.

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