Is your website compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
Being compliant with the ADA is certainly not a new concept, but a rash of lawsuits has brought this issue top of mind. In the Bay Area, there are real estate companies being targeted.
The goal of the ADA, of course, was to ensure that disabled persons can enjoy the same quality of life as those without disabilities. These life experiences range the gamut, from job opportunities to consumer goods and services.
As the Internet affects every orbit of our lives, it was to be expected that ADA compliance guidelines would keep up with the pace of technology. As we all are immersed in a digital world with websites and apps becoming indispensable, everyone with a website should make their content accessible to those with disabilities.
Why? Not just to avoid a lawsuit, but because it is the right thing to do.
Our website is now ADA compliant, and we first embarked on this project because it was brought to our attention that real estate companies were being sued for being out of compliance.
This reminded us of a conveyor belt of lawsuits filed when landlords in the Bay Area summarily refused to accept Section 8 tenants. It was apparent that the same tenants, represented by the same lawyer, would catch landlords and property managers in the act of turning down Section 8 rental applicants and then threaten a lawsuit unless a costly settlement was reached. This became so rampant and alarming, we put together an impromptu webinar on the subject:
In talking with technology vendors, we quickly had a change of heart. While the dominant reason to make our website ADA compliant was to avoid liability, it became clear that people with disabilities are entitled to enjoy and participate in the same life experiences many of us take for granted.
This was brought home powerfully in this video.