Your eCommerce Website May Be At Risk Of An ADA Lawsuit

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In 2018, almost 2,300 ADA lawsuits were filed against businesses across the US, with most cases targeting websites found to be non-compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This trend has only grown, putting the spotlight on businesses to ensure their online presence is accessible to all.


Recently, Domino’s made headlines when they faced a lawsuit under the ADA because their website and mobile app did not meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. This case highlights a crucial issue: ADA compliance isn’t just a legal requirement, but also a moral imperative.

Who’s At Risk?

The threat of a lawsuit may seem like a scare tactic, but it’s a reality thousands of businesses face. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that companies ensure that the same services that are available to non-disabled people are also accessible to people with disabilities, and that extends to businesses’ websites (meaning your eCommerce site needs to be accessible to everyone).


If your website hasn’t been specifically scanned and developed with ADA compliance in mind, a lawyer could be drafting a complaint against you right now. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or Magento; all web platforms are at risk.


Many small and medium business owners might think that they can fly under the radar, but we’ve seen eCommerce businesses with as low as $1m/year in revenue be forced to settle with plaintiffs for 6-figure amounts. Lawyers for these plaintiffs are targeting eCommerce websites that rank high in Google search results because they assume these businesses have deep pockets or insurance that will result in an easy settlement. So the more successful you are, the more you’re at risk.


What can you do to prevent these kinds of lawsuits?

The best defense is a good offense. Even if your website isn’t perfectly compliant, getting closer to full compliance makes you less of a target. Lawyers are looking for easy wins, and a mostly compliant site is less appealing than one with glaring issues.


Scan

To find out whether your website is compliant, you’ll need to utilize a WCAG tool to scan your entire website for potential compliance issues. These tools will highlight areas that need attention, giving you a roadmap for improvements to make.


Fix

When you have an eCommerce site with a lot of products and categories, your scan might return thousands of pages with issues. Fortunately, if you have a good eCommerce platform and development partner, many of these changes can be made in specific templates and will apply across the entire site. So, a little work can go a long way. Collaborate with your development partner to fix these issues and then re-scan the site. Once you’ve addressed the identified problems, your site will be in a much less risky position.


Document

As you begin the process of scanning and fixing your website to ensure it’s in compliance, it’s essential to post a statement on your site. This not only informs users of your commitment to accessibility but also shows potential litigants that you are proactive about ADA compliance. A good example can be found at TCBY’s accessibility page , which includes a link in the footer titled “Accessibility”.


Maintain

ADA compliance isn’t a one-time task. Regularly scanning your site is crucial to ensure that future changes don’t affect your compliance status. By maintaining vigilance, you can keep your site accessible and avoid legal pitfalls.


Need Help?

Navigating ADA compliance can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Netalico, we can assist with creating accessible, user-friendly eCommerce sites. Whether you need an audit or ongoing support to maintain compliance, we’re here to help. Contact us at info@netalico.com for a free initial assessment of your site.

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