According to the DOJ, “Being unable to access websites puts individuals with disabilities at a great disadvantage in today’s society.” With these words in mind, the DOJ has rapidly adopted the role of web accessibility enforcer. A failure to make digital content, including websites, accessible to all individuals regardless of their emotional, physical, or mental disabilities, can result in hefty fines and class action lawsuits. In short, the DOJ is dedicated to making sure that individuals with disabilities have the same equal access to the benefits that are available online. Creating equal access is only possible if organizations a) understand the requirements of web accessibility, b) know that web accessibility is an obligation under the ADA, and c) make web accessibility a priority. The value that awaits when organizations adhere to digital accessibility laws can be measured in more than dollars and cents.
UPDATE: Since writing this post in August 2017, several important changes have taken place in the laws regarding ADA compliance for websites. On December 26, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that they have withdrawn the Obama-era Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking mentioned in this article which intended to require ADA website compliance. The DOJ’s withdrawal announcement stated, “The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.”

Legal precedent is changing, and ADA compliance related lawsuits are becoming more successful, and the courts are seeing more of them as a result. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act pertains to private sector businesses. Lately, those protections are more frequently expanding into digital territory as web and mobile applications become more necessary in our day-to-day lives.
WCAG guidelines break accessibility issues down into three levels. Level A issues are the most urgent and include problems that can severely limit a disabled visitor’s ability to navigate or use the website. Level AA issues tend to be more rooted in functionality, addressing areas where improvement is needed to give disabled users the full experience of a site. (Level AA is considered the target standard for most commercial websites.) Level AAA issues are the highest standard, fine-tuning and expanding on issues identified as Level A and AA. While it is an excellent goal, full Level AAA compliance is likely beyond the reach of most websites.

While the influx of the dot.com world eliminated the need for brick-and-mortar locations for all stores (think eBay or Amazon), all of the above categories typically had a headquarters, if not multiple locations where one could visit and interact.  This would ensure a unique experience, often depending on the individual needs of the visitor. For instance, when visiting a municipal building or institute of learning, a variety of methods are available to get to higher floors (stairs, elevators, ramps and escalators).


Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
Thank you all for your comments.  In my world of space planning and design of commercial facilities of all types , job # 1 is to make sure you can exit a building in case of heavy smoke and fire and make sure that the space is handicapped accessible and that a disabled person can get out of a building in case of fire.  I have never heard of a handicapped accessible website, however the explanation of a website that refers to a physical space makes sense. Alt text to describe something on a website and /or possible audio enhancements also make sense.   That being said I am also very aware of real and let’s call them faux lawsuits and have concerns about opportunistic lawsuits.  They are already happening and to think that could morph into the web is frankly frightening,  
The ADA guidelines are often updated so that businesses can better understand how various disabilities can affect the way that people will interact with websites and digital content. The guidelines also explain why certain barriers can prevent disabled individuals from using or even accessing a website. With these goals in mind, it is important to note that organizations need to review the guidelines on a yearly basis. New technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence10, are being used to help people with disabilities get the most out of the digital world. If organizations fail to read the latest ADA guidelines, then they will soon discover that their approach to web accessibility is outdated, and they might be in violation of digital accessibility laws.
Many web developers have already realized this too and are exploiting business owners for $3k-$20k to make their sites compliant because they have no choice.  So we came up with an extremely low-cost solution so everyone can remove themselves from risk, have compliant websites, and immediately.  My website iFuzeMarketing.com is compliant.  Visit it, press the handicap widget at the top, and play with its simple functions.  We can custom build and install one for anyone's website that's reading this.  It will deliver all the same functions, and we'll code it into your site for you so you don't have to worry about this risk any longer.  Everybody needs this.  Feel free to contact me for details if interested.

Videos need to incorporate features that make them accessible to everyone. Provide audio descriptions of images (including changes in setting, gestures, and other details) to make videos accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Provide text captions synchronized with the video images to make videos and audio tracks accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Many people with disabilities use assistive technology that enables them to use computers. Some assistive technology involves separate computer programs or devices, such as screen readers, text enlargement software, and computer programs that enable people to control the computer with their voice. Other assistive technology is built into computer operating systems. For example, basic accessibility features in computer operating systems enable some people with low vision to see computer displays by simply adjusting color schemes, contrast settings, and font sizes. Operating systems enable people with limited manual dexterity to move the mouse pointer using key strokes instead of a standard mouse. Many other types of assistive technology are available, and more are still being developed.
The ADA statute identifies who is a person with a disability, who has obligations under the ADA, general non-discrimination requirements and other basic obligations. It delegates fleshing out those obligations to federal agencies. The agencies issue regulations and design standards. The regulations have the details on the rights of people with disabilities and responsibilities of employers, state and local governments, transportation providers, businesses and non-profit organizations. The design standards specify how many entrances need to be accessible, how many toilet rooms and the design for those elements.  To know what the ADA requires, you need to read the law, regulations and design standards.  
The fact that an ADA compliant website can increase your target audience by millions is just one reason to make your site more accessible. Another benefit is that not only will you get more customers, but those customers will also know how valuable they are to your business. After all, they might have gone to a few other websites that were not ADA compliant, disappointed each time that they couldn’t access the content, until they got to your website.
About the Speaker: Bill Mitchell is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of RezStream, a company dedicated to hospitality solutions, located in Denver, Colorado. Bill has over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry with extensive knowledge in consulting, sales, support, website design and Internet marketing.RezStream sells reservation software (RezStream Professional PMS), online reservation booking engine services (RezStream Rez2u Booking Engine), Global Distribution System services, custom website designs, and Internet marketing services. 
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care and recreational facilities, and doctors’ offices. All public places, as well as privately owned commercial facilities, are required to comply with ADA standards.
!function(n){function e(e){for(var t,r,i=e[0],a=e[1],u=0,c=[];u1&&arguments[1]!==undefined?arguments[1]:"",t=window,r=Date.now();if(n=e+n,t.ansFrontendGlobals&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings.gates&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings.gates.react_console_log_perf_info){var i=t.performance&&t.performance.now?t.performance.now():r;console.log("".concat(n,": ").concat(i))}o[n]=r}},iuEU:function(n,e){n.exports=react-relay},oqNQ:function(n,e,t){"use strict";t.r(e);var o=t("S0B4");Object(o.a)("entryLoaded");var r=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"A+VG")).then(function(e){n(e)})};window.runApp=function(){Object(o.a)("runAppCalled"),r(function(n){n.runApp()})},window.inlineReact=function(n,e,t,r){Object(o.a)("InlineReactCalled","loadable"),a(n,e,t,r)},window.shimProxy=window.shimProxy||{webnodeSubscribeEventsQueue:[]};var i=!1,a=function(n,e,t,a){var u=function(){i||(i=!0,r(function(r){Object(o.a)("StartAppInlineReactCalled","loadable"),r.inlineReact(n,e,t,a)}))};window.shimProxy.webnode?window.shimProxy.webnode.subscribe("REACT_LOADABLE_LOADED",u):window.shimProxy.webnodeSubscribeEventsQueue.push(["REACT_LOADABLE_LOADED",u])};window.renderPrefetchedPage=function(n,e,t,o){r(function(r){r.renderPrefetchedPage(n,e,t,o)})},window.reportPageSpeedData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.reportPageData(n)})},window.setTimingData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.setTimingData(n)})},window.setGlobalMetadata=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"Gnru")).then(function(e){e.setGlobalMetadata(n)})},window.updateGlobalMetadata=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"Gnru")).then(function(e){e.updateGlobalMetadata(n)})},window.setServerPerfCheckpointData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.setServerPerfCheckpointData(n)})},window.setWebnodeLoadable=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"0xW3")).then(function(e){e.setWebnodeLoadable(n)})}}});
Luckily, the international nonprofit World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) brings together smart people who develop open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. They produce recommendations for making websites fair and equally accessible for the highest number of people possible. Their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 offer clear guidance for web developers to achieve ADA compliance.
I have a membership website teaching martial arts. It is accessible only to people who pay a monthly membership fee. I recently had a gentleman in Malta ask if I could make more than 850 videos on the site accessible to him (he is visually impaired). That is an impossible task for a one-man business. If I understand this article correctly, my site is not required to be accessible?

!function(n){function e(e){for(var t,r,i=e[0],a=e[1],u=0,c=[];u1&&arguments[1]!==undefined?arguments[1]:"",t=window,r=Date.now();if(n=e+n,t.ansFrontendGlobals&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings.gates&&t.ansFrontendGlobals.settings.gates.react_console_log_perf_info){var i=t.performance&&t.performance.now?t.performance.now():r;console.log("".concat(n,": ").concat(i))}o[n]=r}},iuEU:function(n,e){n.exports=react-relay},oqNQ:function(n,e,t){"use strict";t.r(e);var o=t("S0B4");Object(o.a)("entryLoaded");var r=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"A+VG")).then(function(e){n(e)})};window.runApp=function(){Object(o.a)("runAppCalled"),r(function(n){n.runApp()})},window.inlineReact=function(n,e,t,r){Object(o.a)("InlineReactCalled","loadable"),a(n,e,t,r)},window.shimProxy=window.shimProxy||{webnodeSubscribeEventsQueue:[]};var i=!1,a=function(n,e,t,a){var u=function(){i||(i=!0,r(function(r){Object(o.a)("StartAppInlineReactCalled","loadable"),r.inlineReact(n,e,t,a)}))};window.shimProxy.webnode?window.shimProxy.webnode.subscribe("REACT_LOADABLE_LOADED",u):window.shimProxy.webnodeSubscribeEventsQueue.push(["REACT_LOADABLE_LOADED",u])};window.renderPrefetchedPage=function(n,e,t,o){r(function(r){r.renderPrefetchedPage(n,e,t,o)})},window.reportPageSpeedData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.reportPageData(n)})},window.setTimingData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.setTimingData(n)})},window.setGlobalMetadata=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"Gnru")).then(function(e){e.setGlobalMetadata(n)})},window.updateGlobalMetadata=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"Gnru")).then(function(e){e.updateGlobalMetadata(n)})},window.setServerPerfCheckpointData=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"pys6")).then(function(e){e.setServerPerfCheckpointData(n)})},window.setWebnodeLoadable=function(n){Promise.all([t.e("vendor"),t.e("common")]).then(t.bind(null,"0xW3")).then(function(e){e.setWebnodeLoadable(n)})}}});


Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care and recreational facilities, and doctors’ offices. All public places, as well as privately owned commercial facilities, are required to comply with ADA standards.
People with disabilities may use a number of special tools to interact with websites such as: screen readers, speech recognition software, touch screen devices, captioning devices (for video content), Braille, screen magnifiers, alternative keyboard devices, and head pointers. It is important to make sure your website complies with standards that make it possible for those with diverse disabilities to successfully interact with your website. 
The ADA statute identifies who is a person with a disability, who has obligations under the ADA, general non-discrimination requirements and other basic obligations. It delegates fleshing out those obligations to federal agencies. The agencies issue regulations and design standards. The regulations have the details on the rights of people with disabilities and responsibilities of employers, state and local governments, transportation providers, businesses and non-profit organizations. The design standards specify how many entrances need to be accessible, how many toilet rooms and the design for those elements.  To know what the ADA requires, you need to read the law, regulations and design standards.  
Title III of the ADA requires that every owner, lessor, or operator of a “place of public accommodation” provide equal access to users who meet ADA standards for disability. With roughly 1.66 billion people around the world making online purchases in 2017, one might reasonably presume that this concept extends to websites, but from a legal standpoint, there is a surprising amount of grey area.
The gray area is a matter of scale and purpose. If you have a small business which serves as specific market it's a good idea to make the site as user and disability friendly as possible. If, however, your market serves segments with a likeliness to have various handicaps or disabilities you should address that with an ADA Compliance review of the site. Also consider the scale and purpose of an organization. Publicly traded large businesses need to concern themselves more than a single location family owned retailer and if someone sues your flower shop because the text was too small or didn't have "image alt tags" causing them distress... That's pretty frivolous and would likely not stand.
×