What's changed since my website was created?
The ADA (American Disabilities Act) is not new -- in fact it was passed back in 1990. So what's changed? Why is my business suddenly at risk of being sued?
When first drafted, the ADA was applied to physical structures, parking spots, wheelchair ramps, etc. Businesses were expected to make accommodations for people who were disabled. And of course, in 1990 there was no World Wide Web. Google was not even founded until 1998!
But recent technology advances allow blind people to access the web using speech recognition technology. Imagine how technology like Alexa or Google Assistant might read a screen to a blind person, allowing them to navigate, work, and use the vast amounts of information and items available on the internet.
But here's the rub -- virtually all websites were designed before speech recognition became viable. No thought was given to accommodating this technology.
In the most simple terms - a website might display a pretty green OK button, created from a check-mark graphic. In order for the speech software to 'see' the OK behind the check-mark, some code must be inserted 'behind the scenes', to label the checkmark as an OK.
"The number of such ADA lawsuits nationwide nearly tripled in 2018, over the year before."
"Some companies now getting hit by lawsuits for the second or third time, even after they’ve reached settlements to upgrade their sites."