The Department of Justice –US (DOJ) published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design in September 2010. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion

TheAmericans with Disabilities ActorADAcalls for businesses and service providers, profit and nonprofit, to make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities. Websites and digital media are not exempted from this law.

In fact, compliance with the ADA applies to all companies with at least 15 people in their workforce. The requirement is enforced to these qualifiers, but it doesn’t mean that smaller businesses don’t get to join in the fun. They can still reap the benefits by making sure that their websites are compliant with the ADA. It improves businesses by reaching further out to more potential customers and by hindering accountability.

In the recent days, lawsuits over not meeting the ADA compliance is on the rise.

Nearly 5,000 ADA lawsuits were filed in federal court for alleged website violations in the first six months of 2018, according to an analysis by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm that specializes in defending such cases. The firm predicted that the number of lawsuits will climb to nearly 10,000 by the end of the year, a 30% increase from 2017.

With online sales, reservations and job postings now a huge part of modern commerce, advocates for the disabled say websites need to be as accessible

For a website to be accessible to disabled people, the content must be coded so that screen-reading software can convert the words to an audio translation. Video that appears on a website must include descriptions for the deaf. Also, all interactive functions must be operable through keyboard commands for people who can’t use a mouse.

No formal government standards exist for private businesses to follow to ensure their websites comply with the ADA, although a consortium of web innovators has created guidelines, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, to make websites more accessible to disabled people. Government websites already follow those guidelines, but private business websites, which are typically loaded with images and video, tend to be more difficult to overhaul to meet the guidelines, experts say.

The cost of making sites accessible ranges from several thousand dollars to a few million dollars, depending on the complexity of the site, according to trade groups and business owners.

ADA lawsuits, filed in federal and state courts, have targeted the websites of retailers (including Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. supermarkets), restaurants (including Domino’s Pizza Inc.) and universities (including Harvard and MIT).
https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotels-ada-compliance-20181111-story.html