The ADA Book: Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Prevent a Website Compliance Lawsuit

Just two days ago, I officially published The ADA Book.

There is nothing like this book available in the marketplace.

The ADA Book gives you a step-by-step blueprint of the best way to approach making a website accessible. The chronological order in which you approach web accessibility is crucial, it can be the difference between receiving a demand letter and not.

The order I provide recommend is based on court rulings and the charged violations contained within demand letters and lawsuits.

This information is extremely valuable. It will enable you to have a cloak of accessibility (to thwart plaintiff’s law firms) while you bring your website up to date, mostly following WCAG 2.0 AA.

As you read through the steps outlined, you’ll be able to formulate a plan on how best to approach website compliance. But, as you’ll read, I advise an aggressive attack vs. strategizing; the strategy is reading the book and then you run with the information and make your website accessible.

Here are some of the components of the book:

Legal Overview

Inside the book, I also summarize the legal landscape. I think it’s important for context, so readers can understand exactly how we’ve arrived at a code red in accessibility and what exactly the different terminology means. Let’s talk about this briefly.

ADA refers to The Americans With Disabilities Act and Title III of the ADA is supposedly what mandates that websites be ADA compliant.

What does compliance mean?

It means your website is accessible to persons with disabilities.

How do you make your website accessible?

The de facto standard used by US courts and the DOJ is WCAG 2.0 Success Level AA which is compromised of about two dozen requirements or “success criterion”. Key point: WCAG or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is not the law, merely something courts look to when determining whether a website is accessible.

If your website doesn’t meet one of the success criterion under WCAG, do you all of a sudden have an inaccessible website?

It depends which success criterion you don’t meet.

WCAG 2.0 Summary and Detailed Outline

Well how exactly do you make a website accessible?

In the ADA book, I summarize each WCAG 2.0 AA success criterion in plain, simple English so that anyone can understand what it is asking for. There are two outlines: a quick one for context and a detailed one for execution.

Here is an ultra brief summary for context as far as this blog post:

Provide alternatives

· Alt Text: Add alt text to all meaningful images

· Add closed captioning to all videos with sound

· Add a text transcript beneath all video-only and audio-only files

· Avoid images of text

No Automatic Content

· No Pop-Ups: Remove any distractors that activate on your website without being prompted by the user

· Static Website Forms: Forms must be fully controllable by the user

Keyboard Accessible

· Your website must be fully accessible without a mouse, by using the arrow or tab buttons (no users should get trapped on an element where they can’t tab backwards)

Intuitive Website

· Language and Title Tags: Set a language for your website and provide clear titles for each page

· Skip to Content: Users must be able to skip your heading and navigation menu and get right to the content

· Consistent Navigation and Flow: Your overall website and each page needs to be predictable and logical (e.g. Facebook has different types of pages but each has a consistent and predictable structure )

· Descriptive Links and Headers: Word your headers in such a way that makes it obvious what the information following the headers is about. Also, craft your anchor text/text surrounding your links so that it makes the link destination clear

· Labeled Elements: Put a label on each important element of your website

· Multiple Ways to Access Content: Provide multiple ways to navigate through your website (e.g search bar, site map, related pages section, navigation menus, footer links, etc.)

· Clear Forms: Make forms simple and easy to fill out

· Clean Code: Your website must be coded properly and free of errors

Font Thresholds

· Color Ratio: All font should sharply contrast from its background color at a 4.5:1 minimum threshold (if you’re using soft grays/blues for your regular font and links, look out)

· Scalable: Text should be able to be resized up to 200% without any loss of functionality (I recommend starting with a larger font base of 14-16 pt)

Only Necessary Time Limits

· There should be no time constraints on website access unless absolutely necessary

 

Blueprint: Where do you start?

The most important part of The ADA Book is where I detail exactly how to approach website accessibility.  There is a lot of legal best practices embedded within this section because this is all about not getting sued, reducing your risk of seeing a demand letter in your mailbox.

Exactly no one wants to get sued and in the blueprint section is where I strategize for what I would do with a general website.

This information is going to have applicability for any type of entity: corporations, banks, credit unions, mom and pop shops, small businesses, hotels, non-profits, churches, universities, financial and investment institutions, restaurants, etc.

I don’t think I can emphasize enough how important the next steps you take are.  How you approach accessibility makes all the difference between getting sued and not.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Another section full of gold information is the FAQ section where I answer common questions I have seen in forums and discussions on the web.  I’ve searched Quora, Reddit, and keyword research tools to find the pressing questions people want to know.

  • Do all websites need to be ADA compliant?
  • Does it matter if I don’t have 15 employees?
  • What about WCAG 2.1 (just released in June of 2018)?
  • How much is a typical settlement?
  • Are plaintiff’s law firms just going after deep pockets?
  • What industries are they targeting the most?

and several more questions are answered.

The ADA Book (released February 2019) is going to guide you through the best way to become accessible so that you hopefully never have to hire an attorney to represent you.  It’s written by an attorney and accessibility consultant (me), gets right to the point, and contains really, really good information – the best information in the world.

You can buy the book at https://adabook.com.

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