In Florida (and everywhere, but let’s concentrate on our state for the sake of this article), it’s important for your website to be accessible to everyone who uses the internet, and that includes people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are often, unfortunately, discriminated against. In 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in order to prevent this discrimination in all facets of public life. Within this act, you’ll find coverage for services operated by public entities – AKA websites.
Did you know that, if you require ADA tools on your website, you can expand your audience by up to 10%?
Here are some more statistics regarding people living with disabilities:
If you don’t offer full accessibility on your website, it impacts your bottom line. Over time, your rankings will suffer as people who need an accessible experience log off and seek service somewhere else.
Beyond your bottom line, creating a website that’s accessible for everyone is the right thing to do.
Comprehensive website accessibility looks like this:
If you don’t accommodate user challenges with these accessible features, you are failing to cater to every member of your audience.
The goal is to make the internet accessible for everyone – websites, apps, video, and audio. The 2020 Florida Statutes require state agencies to develop and use accessible electronic information and technology that is in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
The WCAG makes a point to ensure equal access to websites for all citizens, including those that live with physical, visual, cognitive, or auditory impairments. If your website does not accommodate people with disabilities, you could be faced with a lawsuit.
In the United States, New York has the highest number of website accessibility lawsuits. Florida ranks second, accounting for about 25% of all website accessibility lawsuits in the nation.
Over the last few years, accessibility awareness has been steadily increasing across Florida, which has made the number of lawsuits decrease. More and more websites are prioritizing ADA and, by proxy, people with disabilities.
Businesses don’t want to fight expensive legal battles, so they are doing the right thing by creating inclusive websites that emphasize a positive experience for all visitors.
In Florida, it’s mandatory that your website ensures ADA compliance. This also holds true if your website helps people find the physical location of your store. If a person with disabilities is unable to access your website, they are well within their rights to file a lawsuit against your public business.
As for private businesses and compliance, neither the Supreme Court nor any of the Circuit Court of Appeals have made decisions on that yet.
If your website isn’t ADA compliant, your business could be losing thousands of dollars in revenue. It’s very likely that, if you aren’t compliant, your acts of online discrimination are not intentional – but it’s still important to be aware. Because, whether the acts are intentional or not, you are still harming the disabled community. Alongside that, unintentional or not, you will still feel the financial burn of a lawsuit should one be filed against your business.
Don’t wait for a lawsuit. Instead, devote your resources towards creating an accessible website.
Perform an audit to find your problem areas, whether it’s manual or automated, and take the following steps:
1. Check your pages against ADA guidelines.
2. List your issues.
3. Prioritize issues in order of severity.
4. Provide remediation instructions.
Creating an accessible website ensures that you cater to every customer who visits your site, and doing so is the key to avoiding lawsuits. Alongside that, ensuring your website is ADA compliant shows your customers with disabilities that they are valued – and that is just as important (if not more so) than making money. It’s just good business.