My new paper “Understanding Website Accessibility Litigation” is available now for download. This paper is for businesses who want to understand this highly publicized form of litigation without jargon and legalese. Here’s a summary of what the paper will explain; a link to view the entire paper appears below.
It isn’t clear which business websites are covered by Title III of the ADA. It may cover all websites that are available to the public or it may be limited to websites that have some connection to a physical place of business. Just what that connection must be is also uncertain.
It isn’t clear what it takes for a website to meet the requirements of Title III of the ADA. WCAG in its current version at success level AA is the best available technical standard, but it does not have the force of law. Conformance to its requirements may not be sufficient, and non-conformance may not mean the website violates the ADA.
Not all lawsuits and demands are the same with respect to the threat they pose. Lawsuits and demand letters come from law firms that range from very sophisticated to incredibly ignorant. The only general advice that applies to all such lawsuits and demands is that before adopting any legal or business strategy you must know about the law firm and its history of website litigation.
Different judges can have very different views of what the ADA requires and how different defenses apply. Just as you can’t decide on legal strategy without knowing about the law firm that filed suit, you can’t decide on a legal strategy without knowing what your specific judge has done in the past with similar ADA lawsuits.
Software testing is not adequate to find all the accessibility problems a website may have. Only user testing by trained users can locate all the accessibility problems in a website.
No widget, plug-in or overlay can make a website fully accessible. These products can, at best, improve a small subset of common problems but often do so at the expense of making other parts of the website inaccessible.
Accessibility and good design go hand in hand. Making a website easy to use for non-disabled users will almost always solve common accessibility problems. Good design should b the primary consideration in website development.
To open the paper in your browser click this link: “Understanding Website Accessibility Litigation.”