Although it should come as no surprise, 2018 showed yet another spike in website-related ADA cases. And given the current political climate, there is little hope for reprieve in 2019.
As reported recently by UsableNet, Federal lawsuits rose 181% over 2017. It’s important to realize that, this only reflects FEDERAL cases. It did not include state cases or actions by the Department of Justice or Education. Nor did it include demand letters which have been most common.
Top 5 States with Website-Related ADA Federal Lawsuits
New York and Florida are the major hotspots for web related ADA lawsuits, however every state saw increases. According to UsableNet's report, 64% of Federal Lawsuits were filed in NY and 32% in Florida in 2008.
Top 5 Industries Hit with Website ADA Lawsuits in 2018
2019 Expectation for ADA Lawsuits
Given the current breakdown in government, we cannot expect relief from the DOJ or Congress. The courts will bear the brunt, so website owners should simply work to make their websites accessible. Doing so will only help increase the number of visitors, improve usability for all, and increase your SEO position.
The process for making your website ADA compliant starts with finding a trustworthy and experienced partner (such as us - see our ADA consulting services) to work with your team in establishing a roadmap toward accessibility.
That roadmap will begin with questioning whether its better to build a new ADA compliant website from scratch, or to audit and remediate your existing website. If your website is more than 3 years old, it may be better to wipe the slate clean and rebuild. If your website is still fresh, then you will start with an audit to first identify all ADA violations according to the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG 2.1 A, AA), which serves as the de facto standard. It’s important to be aware that automated auditing tools can only identify ~26% of WCAG issues. This is because the WCAG is nuanced and interpretive. Be sure to audit using manual and assistive technology methods.
Once the audit is complete, remediation can begin. Remediation will likely include your design, development, and content teams.
Once those lessons are learned and documented, and all website team members are trained, you will then want to conduct periodic audits.