ADA Compliance to Websites – What Schools Must Know and Do to Avoid Legal Threats?

May 16, 2017

Anand Kannan

ADA Compliance to Websites – What Schools Must Know and Do to Avoid Legal Threats?

Recent reports from different media across the US points out there is a steep incline in the rate of lawsuits and penalties against ADA non-compliant websites. Of late, the school websites are under the firing line of Depart of Justice and plaintiff law firms. ‘It has been reported since January 2017 flurry of lawsuits has been filed against school websites that violate section 508 and WCAG 2.0 acts.

ADA non-compliance risk for Schools – Not a marketing hype and not to be ignored!

Most schools have started receiving the alarming emails, demand letters from DOJ and law firms and this has badly hit their businesses. While the legal suits can tarnish the reputation of schools, the settlements or penalty for ADA violations could drain their bank accounts in no time.

So, what should schools do to mitigate the ADA litigation risk? They don’t have to panic as there are definite ways to address all the accessibility issues and improve business.

Approaching ADA website compliance
Schools don’t have to panic as mitigating ADA litigation risk is simple provided if you have a thorough understanding of what ADA exactly is and how it works! The following tips will help your school evaluate ADA compliance and take necessary steps to overcome ADA compliance.

Understanding ADA violations of your school website
The objective to enable equal accessibility of the courses, materials etc. to every student accessing them. Students with disabilities are worst affected as some of the school websites don’t have proper navigation or reading software to provide complete access. Based on the complaints received from the students, plaintiffs and law firms have started rolling out demand letters or legal emails to schools ignoring the welfare of disabled users.

As ADA violations can cost your school business heavily it is quintessence to have a thorough understanding of what ADA WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 guidelines are and what are the vulnerable areas of your website that might lead to legal threats or penalty for inaccessibility issues. While lawsuits can turn ugly on the business growth, the hefty penalties in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars can lead to business debacle.

Here are the tips to mitigate ADA website compliance risks.

  • Identifying the website violations based on severity

A best way to approach this is by contacting a seasoned ADA compliance service that can evaluate the inaccessibility issues and fix fittingly for quick business growth. Experienced services with adept developers will take just a day or two to analyze your website for violations and provide the severity data.

  • Actions plans for fixing the accessibility issues

Professional services with a strong technical know-how on ADA WCAG 2.0 guidelines and Section 508 can help your business find out the web accessibility issues quickly and provide you with best practices to mitigate the problems.

Some of the common problems cited for web inaccessibility include:

Alt tag for images -Most websites fail to add Alternative tag to images and this hurts disabled users badly. ‘Adding Alternative text to images will help audio-disabled users to understand the image and connect better with the content in the page.

Audio captions for videos -Including as part of your video training materials will enhance visibility of disabled users. Mostly users with color blindness or hearing problems will often look out for subtitles or captions to understand how to consume the information in the training video efficiently.

Meaningful sequence -Presenting content in an organized and sensible way is critical for reaching out more students. Content layout with relevant headings, labels, CTAs can enable students better understand the web resource for improved performance.

No keyboard trap – Students with disability may have difficulties in accessing the website using other tools than keyboard. So, it is critical to include the keyboard access as part of the web program to provide complete access to all pages using only keyboard.

Consistent navigation -Offering students with right navigations is imperative for seamless accessibility and improper navigations or redirections can lead to access dilemma. Ensure your school website follows consistent navigations to every other page for improve access and use.

Error suggestion -Setting up validations for input fields and other registration forms is a great idea to help students enroll or access any educational data. Validation messages with errors help them recreate or resubmit forms with correct data for simplified access.

  • Fixing the accessibility issues based on high priority

Discussing the ADA problems with an expert compliant service will enable your school to identify the most vulnerable issues that need to be fixed instantly to avoid fines or lawsuits. Based on the severity start fixing the issues quickly to make your site reach out more students in a short span of time.

Make your school completely free of accessibility issues and ensure even the disabled users can utilize the fullest of your educational website for better performances.

Don’t know how to get started? Your school website could be a victim to rising ADA penalties and lawsuits. Act now to avoid litigation risk. Talk to our experts.

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