The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires businesses to accommodate people with physical and cognitive impairments. While the ADA was designed in 1990 with physical spaces in mind, the proliferation of online services means that digital spaces must also comply with the ADA. Accordingly, websites and mobile apps must be accessible to disabled individuals. Failure to comply with the ADA can lead to fines, lawsuits, damage to your reputation, and loss of customers.
Are All Websites Required To Be ADA Compliant?
Although it’s still a gray area of law, the short answer is, yes, your business website needs to be ADA compliant. The DOJ has affirmed that the ADA applies to websites. Even if your website is not technically required to be ADA compliant, or you manage to fly under the regulatory radar, noncompliance is risky. About 20 percent of the US population has a disability, but there has also been a continual shift to greater digital device usage as more people use the internet to meet basic needs and access critical services. From a compliance standpoint, digital inclusion should be the assumed norm—especially when the penalties for noncompliance are factored in.
How Do I Make My Site Compliant?
Web accessibility is a highly technical area that even experienced developers may struggle to understand implement. The good news is that you do not have to spend a fortune redoing your site. For a low monthly fee, companies like AccessiBe can make your site compliant by inserting a single line of code. Use THIS LINK to get 1 month free of AccessiBe and 10% off going forward. Message me at Laura@LauraECowanLaw.com if you have problems accessing the discount.
What Are the Penalties For Not Complying With The ADA?
Having a non-compliant website or digital app can cost your business big money. Under the ADA, you could be fined up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for subsequent violations.
Arguably, the greater risk to businesses is a lawsuit that alleges violations of the ADA or similar state laws. A 2020 report from UsableNet indicates that ADA-based website and digital app lawsuits are being filed in federal court at a record-breaking pace. About 20 percent of these lawsuits now involve apps. Such lawsuits can result in attorney’s fees, significant damage awards or settlements, and costs to implement needed changes.
How We Help
Is your business website compliant with the ADA and various privacy laws? Do you have the right legal notices posted? Start by booking a Website Compliance Audit with attorney Laura Cowan. You’ll learn exactly what steps you should be taking to make your site compliant and reduce the odds of an expensive lawsuit. Mention this article and we will waive the $97 session fee! You can book your Website Compliance Audit ONLINE HERE.
 National Service Inclusion Project, Basic Facts: People with Disabilities, http://www.serviceandinclusion.org/index.php?page=basic (last visited Aug. 8, 2021).
 UsableNet, Midyear 2020 ADA Website and App Accessibility Lawsuit Report, https://info.usablenet.com/2020-midyear-ada-website-and-app-accessibility-lawsuit-report (last visited Aug. 8, 2021).