The American Disabilities Act
The ADA: What is It?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into effect in 1990 to protect physically impaired individuals against discrimination.
“No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”
Overall, the Act ensures that no digital property— including websites — discriminates against physically impaired people.
Introducing Website Accessibility Standards
In recent years, its application has extended to website accessibility standards, leading to thousands of ADA-related lawsuits. If you own a website, ensure that all your users can access it easily.
No formal government standards exist to make private websites comply with the ADA. Instead, W3C, a consortium of international web innovators, has created a series of web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) that serve as standards website developers need to follow to ensure that all Americans can access websites more easily. Here is what we call the list of shame that highlights cases where people or institutions or businesses have been sued for websites that failed to comply with ADA and/or UNRUH guidelines.
Even though the Department of Justice (DoJ) has not issued specific and binding website accessibility regulations that govern ADA violations, our courts have consistently ruled that the ADA requires commercial websites to be accessible to disabled users.
At this point, let’s transition to the next section to explore more details on the WCAG’s latest 2.1 version.
There are 17 guidelines under WCAG 2.1. You can see the WCAG 2.1 details here.