Avoiding web accessibility lawsuits

Featured in
Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Accessibility on September 07, 2022
Avoiding web accessibility lawsuits is something every website owner should strive towards, and the process can be quite simple with these steps.

    Avoiding web accessibility lawsuits

    If you are a website owner, you will probably want to avoid any type of lawsuit. But did you know that you can get a lawsuit if your website doesn’t meet accessibility standards? Here is everything you need to know to bring your website up to par. 

    Since digital information and online services are considered public accommodations, they will need to be up to ADA accessibility laws. 

    Web content accessibility guidelines

    ADA, or the Americans With Disabilities Act, aims to improve the accessibility of web content you can find online. It is a huge step toward allowing every person to access online content, without worrying about whether they will be able to use it. 

    The idea behind the ADA rules is that any person with disabilities should have equal opportunities as everyone else. This includes participation in various programs, services, and the option to express themselves freely.

    Web accessibility guidelines have been around for over a decade. Their purpose is quite simple—to eliminate barriers and allow everyone to access content on websites. There are many different ways to improve accessibility!

    One of the simplest ways to improve accessibility is to add alt text to images. This will allow the device to explain what is on the picture to people with visual impairment that are unable to see it. Just this simple piece of content can make a world of difference. 

    Other methods include compatibility with various tools and apps, such as a text to speech (TTS) tool like Speechify. You can learn the requirements for Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA, and knowing the difference between ADA Title III and ADA Title I can save you a lot of time.

    Understanding ADA lawsuits

    As the number of websites increases, so does the number of lawsuits. Pages that don’t follow ADA suggestions can be problematic. However, this doesn’t mean that each and every website that doesn’t follow ADA regulations will be sanctioned.

    There are a few key rules, and you will need to follow them if they apply to you and your website. Of course, the simplest solution would be to implement accessibility features from the get-go since they will allow you to stay out of trouble and also improve your website’s user experience.

    Furthermore, there are a couple of areas and types of websites that need to follow ADA regulations. These include websites of government offices, banking institutions, hospitals, hotels, travel providers, law firms, e-commerce, private businesses with 15 or more employees, schools, and others.

    Failing to comply and add accessibility features will often result in lawsuits. You can always check out the WCAG guidelines, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, defined by the World Wide Web Consortium and set by the U.S. Department of Justice to learn what you need for your website to improve accessibility.

    With the increase in website owners who have received a lawsuit, the best thing you should do is try to improve your content and add necessary features. On one hand, you will avoid lawsuits and similar problems, while on the other hand, your website will also be better for all users. More people will be able to check out your content, and they will appreciate the accessibility features that you have. 

    Accessibility issues and legal cases

    According to Statistics from Seyfarth, there were over two thousand cases of accessibility lawsuits in 2018. What is important is that the number increased by 177% compared to 2017, and taking a look at the following year also shows further increase. Many accessibility issues from the food, entertainment, traveling, hospitality, and real estate industries.

    The best example of a legal case was when a man sued Domino’s Pizza because he wasn’t able to order food using the app. The problem was that the app didn’t support the screen reader. Similarly, the plaintiff has taken legal action against Netflix because its TV and online content didn’t provide closed captions. Both cases reached federal court.

    Furthermore, both Harward and MIT received lawsuits because online courses offered by these two universities never offered captions. These are just some of many examples of legal cases against companies and businesses that didn’t follow ADA regulations. 

    Of course, these are all well-known names in their respective industries, and they need to follow stricter standards. But it is still something that can happen to anyone. This is why it is essential to do everything in our power to provide accessibility features. 

    Anyone can receive website accessibility lawsuits, but it seems that the states of New York, Florida, and California have the most cases so far.

    Complying with accessibility guidelines with Speechify

    One of the best ways to improve digital accessibility on your device is by using text to speech (TTS) software. While there are numerous options available on the market, you should only go with the best of the best—Speechify. 

    Speechify is a text to speech tool or a voice synthesizer, and it can turn any type of text into speech. The AI-generated voices are lifelike, and they sound as realistic as real human voices. This is one of many reasons why so many users chose Speechify over other TTS tools.

    The app is also available on all devices regardless of the operating system. You can use the mobile app on iPhone/iPad/Android, the computer version for Windows or Mac, or even as a browser extension for browsers like Google Chrome and Safari.

    For those that want to get even more from the app, you can always check out the built-in OCR that allows users to turn text from photos into voice as well. Speechify is easy to use, sounds great, and it will do wonders for the accessibility of your device.

    If you want to start improving the accessibility of your website today, discover what Speechify has to offer!


    How do you avoid an ADA lawsuit?

    The simplest way to be ADA compliant is to improve the usability and accessibility of your webpage. Optimize content so anyone can use it. This includes things like adding alt text to images and ensuring that text to speech tools work on it. 

    You can find more details on the ADA website, which will give you an idea of possible remediation, available assistive technologies, and how to have an accessible website. 

    What is the ADA? 

    The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is an act that prohibits any type of discrimination. This means that people with disabilities should have the same opportunities and equal access as everyone else, including access to various websites. 

    Furthermore, WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are designed to provide a clear standard for the accessibility of web and digital technologies. This means that each website should be “perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.”

    What is the penalty for not complying with ADA guidelines?

    If your website compliance is not up to ADA accessibility guidelines it can result in fines that reach $75,000. And if the problem continues, additional fines could reach $150,000. 

    This is one of many reasons why you should ensure that you have accessible design and that your website is flawless. 

    What are some ways to meet the ADA compliance requirement?

    Inform yourself about ADA and what it requires. You should also add appropriate tags, alt text, descriptive anchor text, the ability to adjust color contrast, and any other widgets or features that can improve accessibility and user experience. Some websites also offer a built-in TTS reader that visitors can use.

    Recent Blogs

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.