first installment of this two-part series, we discussed the importance of website accessibility and the formulation of regulation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it relates to e-commerce. That led to some broad observations — in particular, that regulation is somewhat open for interpretation under the provisions of Title III of the ADA. As a result, over the past two years alone, more than 300 lawsuits have been filed in or removed to federal court. Nonetheless, it’s also possible in the fast-paced e-commerce world that as we focus on the ideal user, we may overlook the principal of inclusivity. To help you tackle accessibility concerns and proactively bring accessibility practices into play — rather than reactively dealing with ambiguous regulations — we offer these five key takeaways:
Reconsider who your customers are
According to the
U.S. Census Bureau, one in five U.S. citizens has some form of disability. That’s a statistically significant subset of potential customers. Although not all disabilities require a website to be accessible to be used by such persons, there is a significant subset of the population, particularly blind and deaf people, that would be precluded from using the website and purchasing products if it is not designed with accessibility in mind.
Understand the current regulation under Title III of the ADA
While we’ve discussed at length how the ADA is open to interpretation and that what remains is far from straightforward, we recommend a proactive approach by familiarizing yourself with the law and considering it in your site build strategy. For example, take steps to ensure your website works with assistive technologies like screen readers for the blind or partially sighted.
This article originally ran in Internet Retailer on March 13th, 2017. To learn more about ADA accessibility, read the full article here.