The best way to ensure your website follows WCAG 2.1 standards is by being proactive. By being proactive, possible issues are minimized and users are able to utilize your website efficiently, thus bringing in happy, loyal customers and an increase in revenue.
When it comes to your organization, due to the increase in federal lawsuits as it relates to ADA website accessibility guidelines, legal trouble can be mitigated or avoided entirely, simply by taking proactive measures. As web accessibility compliance is required by laws and policies worldwide, it is possible to be faced with a letter of complaint or lawsuit if your organization has website barriers which prevent disabled users from fully accessing it.
The Department of Justice
The Department of Justice is aggressively defending cases of civil rights issues regarding non-compliance of web accessibility standards and guidelines. If your business is faced with a lawsuit, it is not only time-consuming but costly as well. Per an international legal firm, Seyfarth Shaw, it is expected that we will see the amount of web accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court to increase rapidly in the coming years. These types of lawsuits are not only targeting small businesses, but large organizations and corporations as well. Essentially, no one is untouchable and everyone is at risk.
Were You Caught Unprepared?
When evidence is being examined during litigation, an assessment will be done to evaluate whether you took proactive measures and to what extent those measures were implemented. The more proactive measures taken, the probability increases that the severity of the litigation process will be reduced. There are many ways to be proactive and reaching out to an experienced consulting firm is the first step.
If you think you are at risk, it is important to realize that you most likely are, but a consulting firm can work with your organization to verify the scope of the risks as a result of your current site. A consulting firm will assess if your organization is at risk due to a failure to comply with WCAG 2.1 standards and Section 508 standards of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.
Were Any Measures Taken?
Through the use of a variety of audits, analyses and tests, they will determine if or what barriers are present. Once barriers are identified, if any, an overview is provided along with a comprehensive report. It is important to remember that even if you are one of the lucky ones who are deemed currently not at risk, that does not mean you will not be in the future. Continued proactive measures and frequent monitoring are required in order to ensure compliance in the future, as standards and web communications frequently change.
If issues were identified, it is important to address those issues immediately, especially if your organization is a public school, college, or government institution as these types of organizations are legally required to comply with WCAG 2.1. Waiting to address these issues increases your organization’s risk in more ways than one. Not only does it increase the risk of receiving a letter of complaint or lawsuit, but your reputation could also be compromised.