On the first day of arguments following its summer recess, the Supreme Court announced today they would decline to hear a petition by Domino’s seeking to overturn a lower court’s decision that the pizza delivery giant’s website and mobile app are required to be accessible to the disabled under federal law. The Supreme Court’s decision to pass on the case, one of the first high-profile tests of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies as broadly to a business’s online presence as it does to their brick-and-mortar stores, was a win for disability activists who argue that online accessibility is a fundamental right in an era where e-commerce is an increasingly dominant force in the marketplace.

The Domino’s appeal was in response to a lawsuit filed in 2016 by a blind California man named Guillermo Robles, who claimed he was unable to use his screen-reading software to custom order pizzas through the delivery chain’s website or mobile app. Robles’ lawyers argued that this alleged lack of accommodation for the blind and visually impaired violated Title III of the ADA, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations.”

The case eventually found its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, where a panel of federal judges ruled earlier this year that because Domino’s online ordering system connected customers to the goods and services of a physical retail store the company was required to ensure that its website and app were ADA-compliant.

The ADA was written in 1990, just a year after the World Wide Web was invented and long before the rise of smartphones, and the case represents the first of what disability law experts say will be a wave of lawsuits that seek to bring ADA compliance into cyberspace.

In their petition to the Supreme Court, Domino’s lawyers pointed out that the federal government — in particular the U.S. Department of Justice, which is responsible for implementing Title III — has struggled for years to create rules defining online accessibility. Given this lack of guidance, the petition asked how a business like Domino’s could be expected to update their vast, constantly-changing online offerings to accommodate the wide range of disabilities covered under the ADA.

But the Ninth Circuit held that, despite the federal government’s inability to craft uniform national guidance, there were established private industry standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, that the company could follow to make their online offerings ADA-compliant.

Business interests were watching the Domino’s case closely given the potential economic impact of a federal court at some point mandating that all companies doing business online come under compliance.

In an amicus brief filed to the Supreme Court, the U.S Chamber of Commerce argued that allowing the Ninth Circuit’s decision to stand would lead companies to pull their services offline and the net effect would be a less accessible e-commerce environment: “By indicating that each method of access to a company’s goods and services must itself be equally and fully accessible to all individuals, the Ninth Circuit’s decision will discourage companies from pursuing holistic, multi-pronged approaches to providing access to individuals with disabilities.”

The Supreme Court does not give reasons for declining to hear cases, and it may decide to hear the case, or one that raises similar issues, at a later date, but for now Domino’s will have to argue in a lower court that its online services are sufficiently accessible to disabled customers. 

In a statement released to the press, the company touted the online accessibility efforts it had already made, continuing: “Although Domino’s is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not review this case, we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court. We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible.”

Joseph R. Manning Jr., the lawyer representing Robles, told The Los Angeles Times in an interview that the Supreme Court decision was vindication for the core issue in his client’s lawsuit: “There can be no debate that the blind and visually impaired require accessible websites and mobile apps to function on an equal footing in the modern world.”

Over the last few years, there has been a flood of federal lawsuits and threatening demand letters sent to organizations large and small for having websites that are inaccessible to those with certain disabilities. 

In fact, the number of website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court has nearly tripled in each of the last two years. 

According to AdaTitleIII.com, there were at least 2,258 digital accessibility lawsuits in 2018 – a dramatic increase from the 814 such lawsuits in 2017 and the 262 filed in 2016. 

A bar graph titled "Number of Federal Website Accessibility Lawsuits 2016 - 2018" shows 262 lawsuits in 2016, 814 lawsuits in 2017, and 2,258 lawsuits in 2018.

What Are Digital Accessibility Lawsuits?

Each of these lawsuits was filed in federal court under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 

This civil rights law encompasses a wide range of issues but generally ensures that individuals with disabilities aren’t discriminated against in areas of public life. 

The ADA is broken down into five different titles, each dealing with a different area of focus (i.e. employment, telecommunications, state and local government, etc). 

Title III is the most important one as far as websites are concerned as it states that places of public accommodation are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. 

Originally, this meant providing accommodations such as accessible parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, counters of a certain height, etc.

But in response to the increasing importance of the Internet in all aspects of modern life, some federal courts have started ruling that websites are covered by Title III of the ADA as well.

And for good reason as it’s estimated that over 90% of current websites are not accessible to those with disabilities.

But the general lack of digital accessibility across the Internet can only partially account for the recent uptick in federal litigation. 

After all, inaccessible websites are nothing new while the rising atmosphere of litigation is. 

Why Has There Been Such a Rapid Explosion of Digital Accessibility Lawsuits?

The fact that there are no explicit federal guidelines which dictate the difference between an accessible website and an inaccessible one has contributed greatly to the recent proliferation of digital accessibility lawsuits.

Title III of the ADA has no explicit mention of websites as it was written during the Internet’s infancy. Without definitive regulations in place, federal courts have delivered conflicting verdicts on a range of different issues related to Title III and website accessibility. 

For example, some courts have ruled that all websites are covered by Title III of the ADA while others have ruled that only websites for organizations with a physical location are covered.

Yet others still have ruled that websites are not covered at all

Due to the conflicting nature of federal rulings combined with the lack of explicit federal regulations concerning websites, an environment of rampant litigation has taken hold and continues to grow. 

It’s important to note that under the law, the Department of Justice is charged with regulating and enforcing Title III of the ADA. 

In 2010, the DOJ under the Obama Administration announced their plan to go through the rulemaking process to create website accessibility regulations. 

However, due to the ever changing nature of web technology, the process faced numerous challenges and was delayed for many years. 

It had still not been completed by 2017 when Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially placed the website accessibility rulemaking process on the DOJ’s “inactive list” – effectively killing any chance of the DOJ clarifying website regulations in the near future. 

Since it seems highly unlikely that the DOJ would recommence the rulemaking process given the Trump Administration’s aversion to federal regulations, Congress could theoretically step in to amend the law and clarify how it applies to digital accessibility.  

In 2018, the House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act – legislation geared to combat the rising tide of Title III lawsuits. But the bill was not specific to digital accessibility – instead creating steps that plaintiffs must go through before they can sue an organization under Title III. As of publication, this bill is stuck in the Senate and has not yet been brought up for a vote. 

Given the current political climate, it seems unlikely that congress will pass a bill that specifically defines digital accessibility regulations. 

This leaves the only chance for clarification to come from the federal court system. Unfortunately that will take a long time, and as already noted, the courts are partly to blame for the currently murky situation. 

What Can I Do to Protect My Business?

Unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight to the current litigation environment.

While the current status of rampant lawsuits can seem overly burdensome, there is no denying the need for greater website accessibility across the Internet. 

After all, the Internet plays an increasingly important role in modern life, and 71% of those with disabilities report that they have to leave a website right away if it does not offer an accessible experience. 

In the majority of settled digital accessibility lawsuits, the courts have ordered defendants to update their websites to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA

For all these reasons, we recommend auditing and updating your website to make sure it complies with WCAG 2.1 AA. 

That way, you can rest assured that your website can be enjoyed by all visitors while also limiting your exposure to litigation.

Getting your website to meet WCAG compliance can seem like a daunting undertaking – especially if you are brand new to digital accessibility. 

That’s why we strongly recommend that you sign up for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our accredited accessibility experts. 

We will answer any questions you have regarding website accessibility, your organization’s exposure to litigation, and how we can help you make the digital accessibility compliance process as easy as possible.

Over the last few years, a steady increase in federal digital accessibility lawsuits has led to greater awareness of the importance of digital accessibility. 

If you’re early on in your digital accessibility journey, you probably have a lot of questions – one of which is surely What are the standards I need to achieve in order to be accessible? 

Currently, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the go-to international standard for digital accessibility. 

Created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) publishes and maintains the WCAG which details the requirements digital media must meet to be considered accessible to individuals with a wide range of disabilities – both permanent and temporary. 

By updating your site to meet WCAG compliance, you ensure that all visitors can fully engage with your website – no matter if they just broke their arm and need to wear a cast for the next few weeks or if they’re blind and rely on a screen reader to navigate the Internet.

Every guideline in WCAG address at least one of four principles: 

  • Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
  • Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.
  • Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
  • Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. 

Additionally, each WCAG guideline is given one of three different levels of compliance:

  • Level A – addresses the most basic accessibility issues and functionality
  • Level AA – addresses the biggest and most common accessibility issues
  • Level AAA – reserved for the most complex and specific accessibility issues

We encourage organizations to meet Level AA compliance as that is the most common standard used by governments, and in the majority of settled digital accessibility lawsuits in the US, it is the level of compliance to which courts have ordered defendants to update their websites. 

In order to achieve Level AA compliance, you must comply with all guidelines marked Level AA in addition to all those marked Level A. 

While we are intimately familiar with WCAG, we understand that it can pose a major challenge to those new to accessibility as they can be very hard to understand – even for experienced web developers. 

We still remember what it was like when we first read them ourselves. Needless to say, there is a steep learning curve involved. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry; you’re not alone. One of the biggest problems of the current guidelines is that they can be very confusing to those who are starting to learn about digital accessibility. 

If you have any questions regarding your website’s compliance, please feel free to sign up for a no-obligation free consultation with one of our accessibility experts.

Is your website accessible to people with disabilities?

Maybe you think it doesn’t matter. You haven’t heard much about this before now. Or maybe you have heard about it but don’t think it applies to you. The problem is, there’s no hard and fast rule on this, so until the language of the Americans With Disabilities act is clarified, all businesses are at risk.

Let me explain further. The law is murky about whether the ADA applies to websites, all websites or just some websites. We already know that the ADA applies to businesses, museums, movie theaters, retail stores, and other “places of public accommodation.” The websites of federal websites along with schools and financial institutions are required to be accessible to people with disabilities. What isn’t clear is whether the website of a privately owned business is also a “place of public accommodation.” Some appeals courts have said yes.

Even if it isn’t clear right now, all signs point to the law changing to include all websites. This means that any website is potentially at risk for a lawsuit if it is not accessible. Since the law isn’t clear, it also leaves little or no defense for businesses. They can’t simply claim that their business is not a “place of public accommodation” because a precedent has been set in previous lawsuits that it is. If the Department of Justice gets involved in a lawsuit, the defendants can seek civil fines and penalties.

If there is a lawsuit, the sites that have been sued before are required to make their site compliant. There’s little defense at this point for businesses other than to show that they are actively working on becoming compliant. If you’re actively working on compliance, there’s not much a lawsuit can do to you, and you have much more of a defense than simply doing nothing.

That’s why we are urging businesses to come into compliance before you become a target. To make things even more uncertain for businesses, there is not a sure-fire checklist to ensure 100% compliance. However, there are respected guidelines that most people believe will be the standard for when the legal language does change. This standard is the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. These guidelines were most recently updated June 5, 2018.

WCAG guidelines cover three levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA. The DOJ has hinted that websites should aim to conform to the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Levels A and AA. If you’re a business owner and you don’t know where your site stands with regard to these guidelines, you need a site audit to find out.

Web developers who are knowledgeable about compliance are few and far between. Since they have this specialized knowledge, they are often much more expensive than “regular” developers. Who can you trust? Let me tell you, it will be a lot less expensive and you’ll have far more peace of mind if you can go to your developer and let them know what needs to be updated on the site, as opposed to going to them and asking what needs to be updated on the site.

When you run a site audit from OnlineADA.com, you’ll know exactly what elements on your site violate accessibility. After the scan, you’ll own the results. Take it to another developer if you want, or fix the site issues yourself. Either way, every day you wait is another day you’re putting yourself at risk from unclear laws and predatory lawsuits, not to mention the customers you’re not serving. Contact us to learn more about your site audit.

Have you been hearing more people talk about websites and accessibility? Maybe the concept of a digitally accessible website is new to you, but it shouldn’t be unfamiliar for much longer. Business owners large and small are being sued because their websites aren’t accessible to people who have altered abilities. The laws about accessible websites are changing, and pretty soon ALL websites are going to need to be digitally accessible.

Read on for 5 examples of why your website is not digitally accessible. When you compare this list with your own site you’re probably going to realize that a lot of things on your site need to change. When you make that realization you’re also going to realize that you need help! Seek help from the agency that specializes in digital accessibility. That’s right! We do.

1. Color Contrast
Lack of color contrast is bad for users with low vision. Digital accessibility guidelines require a certain level of color contrast and a lot of sites don’t meet it.

2. Not including keyboard only functions and navigation.
Think about if you couldn’t see the screen to know where to put your cursor to fill in a form or click a button to send an email. Keyboard-navigation allows people to tab through a site using only their keyboard and/or a screen reader that tells them where they are on the site.

3. No alt-text.
This is the one issue that most people know about, particularly when it comes to images. Images should have descriptive names, not “figure5-2.jpg” with no description and no alt-text. Imaging using a screen reader and not being able to see the image.

Alt-text should describe what the image shows to people who can’t see the image. If the image contains information that is more than just for appearance (ie, a Canva image that talks about a sale) that information needs to be included in the alt-text.

4. Forms are not accessible.
When a person can’t see the screen, they don’t have the same cues for how to take actions on a site. For instance, they can’t tell which box is supposed to have their first name typed in, which box is supposed to have their last name typed in, and which box is supposed to have their email typed in. Unless the form is set up correctly with labels for each section, it’s not accessible.

5. Non-descriptive link text.
A lot of links are set up using text that says nothing more than “click here.” This is not considered descriptive and doesn’t work for screen readers. Yes, screen readers can read the words “click here,” but the non-sighted user doesn’t get the context of what clicking here is supposed to do. For instance, instead of “click here” to visit our Facebook, an effective way to set up links would be to have the text say “To connect with us, visit our Facebook page,” and have the words “Facebook page” be the actual link.

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming when you’re looking at your website, you’re not alone! Pretty much only trained computer programmers understand all this stuff. So first of all, don’t feel bad about reaching out for help! And secondly, shop around and get help from an agency you trust. Many people are overcharging for accessibility services because so many people don’t realize what a fair rate is. When you’re calling around, put OnlineADA.com on your list!

Have you heard the hit new song? It’s called “The Website Accessibility Shakedown.” Just kidding! If you do hear this latest hit, you will wish you hadn’t. Businesses across the nation are being targeted by predatory lawsuits if their websites are not digitally compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 244 federal lawsuits have been filed throughout the country against companies of all sizes, including banks, credit unions and large and small retailers. In 2017, plaintiffs filed at least 814 federal lawsuits about websites they alleged were inaccessible. The first trial of 2017 centered on the website of grocer Winn-Dixie. This company paid $250,000 to remediate their website, and the judge ruled that the dollar figure was not “an undue burden.”

Celebrity Kylie Jenner was sued in December 2017 because her cosmetics website was inaccessible to blind people. The plaintiff, a woman named Antoinette Suchenko, says she is not looking for money–just that the website be accessible to screen readers. Most business are not that lucky. People definitely are out for money from businesses whenever they can get it.

In the years when ADA accessibility affected only a physical location, serial “drive-by” litigation because such a problem that the state of California passed laws against it. If a business didn’t have a marked handicapped parking space or an appropriate wheelchair ramp, “drive-by” plaintiffs would file a suit. The business would fix the issue, which often was an affordable, quick remedy such as putting up a handicapped parking sign, but the plaintiff would still want thousands of dollars to settle. Now that ADA accessibility has reached the digital age, this is happening to websites that don’t have alternate text on images, or content that can’t be read by screen readers, just to give a couple of basic examples.

Many businesses settle these predatory claims without a suit being filed. For those that do not result in settlement, the businesses have to go to court. At that point, most businesses do want to quickly settle as the cost of updating their website AND proceeding with a lawsuit is too much to bear. Settling could be thousands, or, depending on the size of your business, millions of dollars.

The laws regarding the accessibility of financial institutions such as banks and credit unions is changing, but the laws are clear on websites in general. And, it is so easy for plaintiffs to find ADA violations online because most sites are simply not accessible at this point.

Until you can ensure that your site is completely compliant, it is important that you develop a plan to make your website ADA compliant. Your plan should include a timeline for compliance in addition to reviewing the new content that is added to the site on an ongoing basis until all of your content achieves compliance.

“Having an ADA website compliance plan in place provides your business with some leverage showing that you’re taking steps to achieve compliance in case you receive an ADA demand letter or are sued,” explains accessibility consultant and web developer Josh Garnick.

Web accessibility fixes can be time-consuming to implement, so if you’re sued by one plaintiff without your website actually being fixed, you’re open to other lawsuits also.

“First, companies should run an accessibility scan of their webpages,” says Garnick. “This can provide an overview of potential issues that need to be resolved. Ideally, the company will work on bringing their older content up to standard and all new content will be run through the scanner to ensure that all new content that is added is also compliant.”

A plugin called ADA Plugin does this for you. ADA Plugin works behind the scenes on WordPress sites to scan your site and create a checklist of items that need attention. The scan provides details about what needs to be fixed and why, along with a snippet of the ADA guidelines that the issue refers to. You can fix these yourself, but these issues are best handled by your in-house developers or IT team if you have one.

Some online tools can scan your site and give your website a “pass/fail” grade, but the ADA Plugin gathers the latest guidelines that the government requires and tells you how to get them implemented on your site.

As of now, websites should follow WCAG 2.0 guidelines.(4) The group in charge of these guidelines has promised WCAG 2.1 in summer of 2018. These ever-changing guidelines makes it all the more important to select a tool like the ADA Plugin that automatically updates. When the developers of the plugin know about major changes like WCAG 2.1 on the horizon, they update the plugin, and your purchase of the plugin means that the next time you run a scan on your site, the plugin will know what needs to be fixed. You will never need to keep up with accessibility guideline changes, unless you want to.

It’s May, and that means Global Accessibility Awareness Day is coming up. Last year it was May 17, 2017. This year, it’s May 18. Put the third Thursday of May on your calendar for future years, and use that date as a means to get the word out about changes you’re making on your site regarding accessibility.

The laws are rapidly changing regarding online accessibility. It’s only a matter of time until all websites are required to be accessible to all people, regardless of abilities, just as public businesses are required to be accessible. Pretty soon, accessible websites will be as commonplace as marked handicapped parking spaces, and wheelchair ramps.

If your website hasn’t yet begun a campaign to change over from a non-accessible site to an accessible one, know that the law will not be on your side for long. Lawsuits are piling up in regards to websites that people with altered abilities have tried to access and couldn’t. If you are aware of the accessibility problems on your site and not taking steps to bring your website up to compliance standards, that leaves you vulnerable to a lawsuit.

If you’re taking steps to make your website accessible, a lawsuit will be a lot harder to bring to courts, since it will be clearly shown that you are actively working to resolve the problem.

Take two steps now…Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day and why it’s important.   

And then, look into what you need to do to make your website compliant for online accessibility. The ADA Plugin, which scans your site for compliancy issues and presents you with a checklist of items to fix along with providing the explanation for why they need to be fixed, is an excellent first step. We can help you learn more about that, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Photo by Yu-chuan Hsu on Unsplash

If you haven’t yet heard anyone ask the question “What is Section 508 Compliance,” you likely soon will. Perhaps another one of your coworkers will wonder if your company’s website is compliant and if not, why not. Your company’s or agency’s IT director may send out a memo advising staff of digital compliance guidelines so that the organization can avoid a predatory lawsuit.

The information you might be getting from your coworkers could leave you with more questions. We’re going to answer some of those questions about Section 508 compliance here.

Section 508 is an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This federal law mandates that all electronic and information technology “developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government” must be accessible to people with disabilities. It’s similar to the federal law that requires public businesses to be accessible to people with disabilities, except this law is based on the digital technology that is in use on websites.

Technology is deemed to be “accessible” if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without. In summer of 2018, guidelines are to be expanded for making websites even more accessible than the current guidelines. This is becoming a huge deal.WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and is an internationally accepted set of guidelines for accessible digital content. WCAG is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main standards organization for the Internet. Here are the guidelines as of February 2018 in detail: w3.org/tr/wcag21.

If any businesses or government websites claim to be compliant, they better be. Because if they aren’t they are fair game for a lawsuit over not being compliant. Likewise, credit unions and major retailers have been sued in the past couple of years for mega-millions of dollars for not having compliant websites.

What Businesses Need to Have an ADA Compliant Website?

Any business that is considered a “place of public accommodation” is required to provide equal access to services in order to not be considered discriminatory. This includes the websites of retail stores, from small to large. Even big names such as Target are not safe. Target was sued in the mid-2000s for not having an accessible website. Hotels, entertainment sites like movie theaters and playhouses, legal and accounting firms, credit unions and banks and virtually every business that is not a private entity must be compliant. This is true even for businesses that do not have an accessible brick-and-mortar location.

Any business, large or small, in the government sector or not, is now at risk of a lawsuit over not having an accessible website. It’s happening repeatedly and businesses are paying huge sums of money to hire lawyers and ADA compliance specialists and consultants to tell them what they need to do to be compliant, followed by hiring website developers to implement the ADA compliance regimens. Often, small businesses end up paying extra sums to have the Section 508 Compliance implemented on a rush timeline. It can take weeks or even months for a large site to become compliant, so start now if you believe that your website is not compliant. And believe us, most are not.

So you’ve got a website? Most businesses and organizations do. And since those websites are considered public domain, they must be accessible by people who have disabilities as well as by people who don’t. Just like a restaurant, a website where someone accesses products, services or information must be accessible by all.

To that end, a Section 508 Compliance Checklist will help you be aware of the federal standard for website accessibility. The following checklist is just a partial list of some of the major requirements of Section 508 compliance. If this Section 508 compliance checklist seems overwhelming for you, get in touch with us!  

Our agency has implemented two solutions to help solve this problem. We have created the ADA Plugin, which is an affordable option for people who manage websites and are confident in making the fixes themselves. The ADA Plugin scans a website for Section 508 Accessibility compliance issues, flags them, and connects them with the standard’s requirements so they can easily be fixed. The second solution is to hire our agency to run the scan for you and fix any and all issues your site may be experiencing.

With that option, your site is thoroughly reviewed by someone whose job it is to understand the complex technical requirements of Section 508 Accessibility and fix them. You will be assured that your site is compliant from the ground up, and you can more easily maintain that compliance as time goes on.

If the answer to any of these questions is No, then your site would not pass a Section 508 compliance audit.

Here’s Your Section 508 Compliance Checklist

  1. Do images have alt attributes?
  2. Does the alternate text convey contextual relevance to the page it is on?
  3. Do your images contain text? In other words, does text content contained in images disappear when images are not available?
  4. Do noframes elements have appropriate equivalent or alternative content for user agents that do not support frames?
  5.  Is a full text transcript provided for all pre-recorded audio and/or video?
  6. Is information conveyed by color also conveyed by context, markup, graphic coding, or other means? In other words, if a person were unable to see color, would they be able to understand the required actions?
  7.  Does a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 exist between text, and images of text, and background behind the text?
  8.  Is a correct contrast ratio maintained when CSS is disabled?
  9. Are links distinguished from surrounding text with sufficient color contrast?
  10. When the link is activated is the contrast noticeable?
  11. With CSS disabled, are headings, paragraphs, and lists obvious and sensible?
  12. With CSS disabled, is most text, other than logos and banners, rendered in text rather than images?
  13. When tables are used for layout, does the content linearize properly when layout tables are turned off?
  14.  For tables containing data, do the elements appropriately define every row and/or every column headers?
  15.  For tables containing data, is the summary attribute used to explain the meaning of the table if it is not otherwise evident from context?
  16.  Does each frame and iframe element have a meaningful title attribute?
  17. Do all documents have a text-only version? If so, does it meet all Section 508 criteria and contain the same exact information as the original document?
  18. Is any content or functionality provided by JavaScript through mouse action also provided through keyboard-triggered event handlers?
  19. Are links provided to any special readers or plug-ins that are required to interpret page content?
  20. Do form error messages identify the error(s) to the user and describe them to the user in text?

In 2010, the US Department of Justice published ADA Standards for Section 508 Accessibility. They called that document the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. The purpose of the document was to help people learn about Section 508 accessibility and provide standards for how electronic and information technology would be made accessible to people with disabilities.

These standards must be upheld by any commercial and public entities that have “places of public accommodation,” which used to be considered brick-and-mortar places of business but are now also considered to be publicly accessible websites.

The Section 508 Accessibility law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, businesses operating for the benefit of the public, and all government agencies. The only way to be sure that your website complies with Section 508 Accessibility laws is to do a self-assessment or hire an expert to do the assessment.

A self-assessment is difficult. Why? Because while the law is straightforward, the requirements are complex and technical. Unless you have a very clear understanding of website structure and coding, you will be challenged to identify what is wrong on a site, compare it with what is required to fix it, and actually implement those fixes.

Our agency has implemented two solutions to help solve this problem. We have created the ADA Plugin, which is an affordable option for people who manage websites and are confident in making the fixes themselves. The ADA Plugin scans a website for Section 508 Accessibility compliance issues, flags them, and connects them with the standard’s requirements so they can easily be fixed. The second solution is to hire our agency to run the scan for you and fix any and all issues your site may be experiencing.

With that option, your site is thoroughly reviewed by someone whose job it is to understand the complex technical requirements of Section 508 Accessibility and fix them. You will be assured that your site is compliant from the ground up, and you can more easily maintain that compliance as time goes on.

Sound good? Get in touch and we’ll talk about what you need for a site scan. Ready to buy the plugin? That’s easy. Just decide whether you want one, 5 or 10 or more and we’ll take it from there.