Step 1: Create & Publish a Website Accessibility Statement

Step 1 of ADA Litigation Defense:

Create & Publish a Website Accessibility Statement

 

Updated Jan 24, 2017

2015 was a big year for the DOJ and organizations like the Federation for the Blind that represent real people with disabilities. Large brands and retailers were challenged in court to ensure all people enjoy universal access to web content. Web access is becoming a basic rights issue, and courts are lining up in support. 

It was also a big year for those law firms that looked to leverage these successes for their own gain. They served thousands of businesses with hollow demand letters with unnamed plaintiffs and aggressive tactics. 

Such demand letters should not be ignored. If you receive on, contact your lawyer. They key is to avoid getting one in the first place.

What's the quickest and easiest and most effective step you can take? Establish and publish an Web Accessibility Policy. If you want to avoid this situation, your goal is to not be low hanging fruit and to kill the profit motive.  A policy that states that you are in process of addressing all the issues they will demand, knocks their legs under them. Most importantly, once this is publicly stated, the plaintiff firm cannot claim they are the cause of your actions and therefore cannot claim compensation for their efforts. Since the plaintiff's themselves cannot collect damages, the only profit motive is the plaintiff's firms looking to get all of their costs covered by you. This kills that and in all likelihood will send them off.

Your Website Accessibility Policy should be written with counsel versed in ADA and outline goals, current and planned efforts to reach those goals, and a timeline. Further, it should also include what steps you plan to make to ensure on-going conformity to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which current serve as de facto regulation.

Final point... while its clear that website owners have an ethical and legal reasons to heed the ADA, there are also strong business reasons to do so also. 20% of people in the US are disabled and over 20million suffer from vision loss. Those are a lot of customers.