Corey Day and Thomas Woods Discuss Website Accessibility Requirements and What Businesses Need to Know to Comply


Litigation attorneys Corey Day and Thomas Woods co-authored an article for Artisan Spirit Magazine titled “Website Accessibility: Unseen Liability,” published Spring 2021. The authors discuss what it means for a website to be accessible for the visually impaired, and outline the laws governing accessibility requirements for businesses and what they need to do to achieve compliance.

As well as the visible content on a website, additional code and instructions built into it allows screen reading software, which reads aloud the text on a website page, to verbally provide descriptions of non-text features of each page. This enables visually impaired persons to have an equivalent experience to those who are sighted.

When it was passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not address accessibility requirements for other than physical locations, but more recently federal courts have ruled that the ADA also applies to businesses’ websites. Several states have also enacted anti-discrimination laws that their courts have interpreted in the same way. The penalties resulting from being sued over a non-compliant website can be hefty.

There is no website accessibility standard that has been universally adopted by the states and federal government, but the authors provide suggestions for businesses to protect themselves from potential claims for non-compliance. They conclude: “Take the time to review your website now for compliance, then make sure you have a plan in place for maintaining compliance. It will save you in the long run.”

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