Nancy Roblewsky
April 1, 2022

Web Accessibility Guidance For Business Owners

Web Accessibility Guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act was issued by the Justice Department on March 18, 2022.  What does this mean for small business owners like yourself? 

It means it’s your responsibility to ensure your website is accessible to everyone. This includes the 25% of people who have a permanent or temporary disability.  And yes, there really are that many who have some type of disability.

Accessibility Guidance items

The guidance addresses items that prevent people with disabilities from being able to view and/or interact with websites.

While the following list is not everything that needs to be addressed, it does cover most that (when addressed) make it easier for those with disabilities to access websites.

  • Sufficient color contrast in text
  • Text cues when using color in text
  • Alt text in images
  • Video captions
  • Online forms with proper labels and instructions
  • Text size and zoom capability
  • Proper use of headings for better navigation
  • Keyboard and mouse navigation

One of the most important items is adding a way for the public to report accessibility issues to the website owner. Why? Accessibility should be an ongoing process where improvements are continually made to make your website better.

Studies show that 98% of the world’s websites are not accessible.  Considering the number of people with temporary or permanent disabilities, it’s staggering how many websites are currently creating barriers for this segment of the population.

Digital accessibility lawsuits

3,550 digital accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2020. So far, it’s mostly large corporations that have been hit with legal action.  Accessibility is fast becoming a big issue (as it should). I believe smaller businesses may soon become targets as it only takes one person wanting to make an example out of you.  

Do accessibility overlays work?

10% of the 3,550 lawsuits filed were against companies using overlays, which are often seen as a less expensive and faster solution.   Many studies have been done on overlays and the overwhelming result is that they do not work. 

It would seem as if the only people who like overlays are the companies that sell them.  People with disabilities do not like them as they simply don’t work. They still have problems using a website even with an overlay in place.

The best accessibility solution?

As often happens, the cheaper route turns out to be more expensive because when the overlay doesn’t work, you end up spending more money for something that does. 

In this case, fighting a lawsuit is going to cost you far more than having an accessible website built and that doesn’t even factor in the stress involved.

I believe it’s good that the Dept. of Justice published Web Accessibility Guidance because it brings more attention to it.  

Contact Sleepy Dog to learn more about how you can get an accessible website.

Published: April 1, 2022 • Last Updated: April 1, 2022