Is Your Florence Business’ Website Accessible to People with Disabilities?
A recent spike in “drive by” lawsuits are prompting business owners to insure their websites are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In a recent whitepaper published by the American Dental Association (ADA), dentist offices have become a target for lawsuits arguing that their business websites are not accessible to individuals with disabilities.1 Dentist offices, along with many other businesses like restaurants, hotels, and movie theaters are regarded as public accommodations and must provide accessibility to their goods and services for those with disabilities as stipulated in Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA). In the same way that a business must provide entrance ramps to accommodate people in wheelchairs, it has been argued that the business’ website should also accommodate individuals with hearing and vision impairments. This can include use of high contrast colors and text-to-speech software compatibility for people with vision impairments, as well as subtitles for videos for the hearing impaired.
When the AwDA passed in 1990 during the early days of the internet, no one questioned if the law applied to websites and other web-enabled applications. Fast forward to 2017, and the internet has become a major part of how customers interact with businesses. Prospective customers can go to a business website, such as a dentist or doctor’s office, and learn about available treatments, schedule appointments, and get office directions anytime of day. If a website is not optimized for people with vision and hearing disabilities, it could potentially limit their access to your products and services. It was this principle that motivated advocacy groups, state attorneys general, and the DOJ to file some of the first lawsuits, resulting in several major companies optimizing their websites to accommodate people with disabilities.
While the initial suits were legitimate, many today are filed by opportunists looking to take advantage of the law and business owners. A provision of the AwDA permits people to file suits against businesses and recover their legal fees if they win. Thousands of these “drive by “ lawsuits are filed against business owners each year. Unfortunately, few defendants have had success getting their case dismmised in court, and most choose to settle rather than pay the expenses associated with lengthy litigation. Rather than defend your business in a potential lawsuit, review your website and make sure that it is accessible to users with disabilities.
Don’t become a victim of a “drive by” lawsuit. If you are unsure whether your website is optimized for use by people with disabilities, contact the professionals at Pinnacle Creative Marketing in Florence for an assessment of your site. We can assist you with the needed updates to your webpage to ensure that all of your clients can readily access your site and contact you for your goods and services. Call us today at (843) 633 - 2720 to schedule your consultation, or fill out the form below to get a free scan of your website to determine if it is accessible to individuals with disabilties.
1 American Dental Association. Website Accessibility Claims: Strategies for Dentists. March 6, 2017