Web Accessibility: Why is it important?

Oct 19, 2021 | Web Development

Web accessibility is a considerably new concept.

Most website owners are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but some don’t know that they are exposed to the risk of lawsuits. To help clarify the legal landscape & to provide important information about web accessibility & how to address the problem, we’ve put together an overview. 

You may have heard about recent lawsuits involving websites of large companies such as Dominos (Robles v. Domino’s Pizza), Five Guys (Lucia Markett v. Five Guys), Hobby Lobby (Sean Gorecki v. Hobby Lobby) & Winn-Dixie (Gil vs. Winn-Dixie) grocery store who had to pay $105K.

Each of these lawsuits involved visually impaired people trying to access the company’s website. These lawsuits have all been filed under ADA Title III. This is the “public access” section of the ADA compliance.

Disclaimer: we are NOT lawyers, however, we have been talking with industry experts, consultants & companies that specialize in ensuring websites are fully ADA compliant.

Above we mentioned some large companies that have faced lawsuits.

However, recently a small shoe store in Clearwater, FL was involved in a lawsuit. They are a Mom & Pop shop & this hits home for us here at The Buzz Effect… A small business trying to do everything they can to expand their business & make a little more by having a website gets hit with a lawsuit that could cost them $10-$20k.

The small businesses we work with keep our services accessible to businesses of any size – our goal is to help protect & assist you with compliance. 

In 2018 there were 10,163 federal cases RE: ADA & websites. In CA there were 4,249, that’s a 54% increase in CA from 2017 to 2018. 

The Avanti Hotel in Palm Springs got hit with a lawsuit & the plaintiff is looking for $13k in damages. This $13k is in addition to the hotel making the needed changes to the website. The hotel’s lawyer said that it would cost upwards of $25k in damages, plus lawyer fees if they fight the suit & lose.

As you are reading this I bet you are thinking “Why didn’t we build a website that is ADA compliant in the first place?”.

Well, that’s a good question.

As an industry, we have implemented many elements that are required like Alt tag fields on images, tab navigation, skip to main content & other items. We do work to build in as many tools as we can, however, maintaining compliance means that every time the website is updated that it has to be checked again. Thus it’s not a once-and-done type thing, rather an ongoing element.

We could build something compliant if the law never changed & nothing ever changed on your website.

However, laws & guidelines change & we know your website needs to be continuously updated.

So… where does this leave us?

There are a few options:

  1. Do nothing… However, you could be at risk of a lawsuit & we DO NOT recommend this!
  2. Take your website offline… but now you don’t have a business.
  3. Hire an ADA compliance company like SiteImprove ($5k+/month) or AudioEye ($10k+/year).
  4. Use a “Free Plugin” service that only provides 20-50% coverage on compliance.
  5. Use our vetted, all-inclusive solution.

The Buzz Effect has partnered with AI & Accessibility experts to bring our clients a tool that can help provide a compliant solution. Although there is a cost to this it is a lot less than having to deal with the legal mess of a lawsuit or even another more expensive compliance company. You will spend less than $200/month (+setup fee) for a fully compliant website.

And don’t worry, if you’re already one of our clients, your website has been protected!

 Understanding the importance of compliance is critical to long-term success – as a new business owner or a veteran in the entrepreneurial space. The Buzz Effect, an inbound marketing agency, can help you determine if your current site is ADA Compliant & help identify how you can consistently stay in compliance.

Contact us today for more information on using technology to create a more welcoming & user-friendly Internet for everyone!

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