Supreme Court Decision Sparks New Age of Web Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was written before the world’s first website was published. It was originally established to prohibit discrimination in “public accommodations” for people with disabilities. During this time, social interaction and commerce were limited to accessing “brick and mortar” establishments. Since then, our world as changed to include a vast digital landscape. This raised the question: Does Title III of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act apply to websites and apps?
The recent Supreme Court Decision in the Robles vs. Domino’s Pizza lawsuit officially answers this age-old question with a resounding “YES!”
The decision is based on the fact that individuals with disabilities are unable to obtain products and services from businesses that don’t have accessible websites and applications. During litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Domino’s Pizza after a federal appeals court ruled that blind customers can sue an organization under the grounds that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites. This means that websites and applications must be accessible for all users, regardless of any discriminatory factors. This is a major step forward in the Accessibility Movement.
What does this mean for your website?
This means that all websites will be held to standards that permit everyone an equal experience while using your website. In the simplest terms, your website will now be considered a “public accommodation” that needs to have all functionality operable for everyone - regardless of the input device (mouse, keyboard, voice recognition, etc.). Following this monumental decision, it is almost certain that the accessibility litigation will ramp up.
The current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 provides a more detailed set of guidelines with further examples and principles that all website providers need to adhere to
What should you do next?
The best thing you can do now to avoid ADA litigation is to make sure that your website meets or exceeds (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA standards. All content on your website needs to be “Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust” to help mitigate any ADA litigation claims against your organization. When ensuring that the website meets the standards set forth in WCAG, the most important step is to ensure that the content is accessible via assistive technology.
Are you ready for this new era of accessible web design? If you are unsure of what all this entails, give us a call!