Own A Site That Gets US Traffic? Then What You Don’t Know Could Cost You $50,000!
Lets take a moment to talk about something very important to anyone who has a website that gets traffic from the US.
I’m talking about Accessibility.
There is a law that was passed quite a few years ago called the Americans With Disabilities Act. It’s commonly known as the ADA. The law deals with requirements for making public resources available to those suffering from disabilities such as blindness, seizures or epilepsy, basically any physical disability that prevents them from doing things as most others can.
When most of us of think of compliance to this law, (myself included until very recently) we think of things like wheelchair ramps for places with stairs and things like that. In fact, the ADA covers far more than that.
Like what, you ask? Well how about pretty much the entire Internet. According to the ADA, anyone who creates a site that targets US residents is responsible for making sure that the site is fully accessible.
Not complying with Section 508 of the Department of Justice’s ADA Standards for Accessible Design could expose your company to hefty fines, the risk of expensive criminal and civil litigation and give your company a bad reputation with the disabled.
Websites that don’t meet WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards can be fined up to $50,000 for an initial violation and up to $100,000 for a second, plus the possibility of paying even more for any compensation of damages awarded in a court case.
Unlike the GDPR where you are notified of a violation and given a chance to comply before you are fined the ADA fine for a first offense is non negotiable. No warning, just a notification that you are in violation and have been fined.
If that alone isn’t enough enough to motivate you to become compliant then how about the potential revenue you’d be missing out on by ignoring one fith of the total US population? According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) one in five people living within the US have some sort of disability.
Several big brands have already been sued because of accessibility issues with web based content.
Which is a shame, because there’s an awesome resource available to all site owners that can solve the problem with ease.
UserWay.org has produced a widget that works with all major content management systems and even HTML sites to instantly make your site ADA compliant. There is no cost, you simply create a free account on their site then grab the appropriate widget for your site.
Just watch the video to see how easy it is for WordPress users.