With our primary client base being FIs, we understand and have lots of conversations about the requirements for ADA website accessibility. This summer, the DOJ threw a curveball to site owners. They made the early announcement that they are placing the regulations on their inactive list. This means that there will be no definitive laws and regulations surrounding website usability in the foreseeable future. Without the additional guidance we are starting to have more and more, “Now what?” “Do we need to worry about accessibility?” “Do we need to do more.” The short answer is: all websites need to continue to strive to be accessible.
First, it’s the right way to be. The guidelines are there to ensure that everyone can access and understand the content on your website. The removal of any barriers ensures that everyone can use your site without limitation. Many of the recommendations adhere to basic best practices of web design. As a business owner, making your content and tools accessible to anyone when they want or need to use them, you are not only doing a service to everyone, but you are being an institution that people will want to work with.
Second, not complying with the guidelines could cost you, lots. While it is not a current focus of the DOJ, their announcement will in no way stop accessibility lawsuits, or law firms who are targeting websites to sue. In fact, the opposite may be true. Given several large companies settling lawsuits, and the decision against Winn-Dixie in the courts, lawsuits are actually likely to increase.
If you needed to implement better ADA accessibility features before this summer, you still do. Stay on the path of working to ensure that your site incorporates the required and many of the recommended features. If you are unsure how accessible your site, there are checklists and audits that we can run against your existing site to see if your site is compatible, or at risk.