The Rise of Web Accessibility Lawsuits

What You Need to Know

A record number of lawsuits have been filed over web accessibility for people with disabilities. The lawsuits are only continuing to rise. In 2022, there are almost 100 ADA-based digital lawsuits per week. At this rate, it is predicted that there will be more than 4,400 lawsuits in 2022 alone. That is a 75% increase in the last 2 years.

The significant increase has been a result of growing awareness of the importance and legal necessity of web accessibility. High-profile court cases like Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC and National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix have garnered widespread attention.

Website Inaccessibility

In the United States, 54.4 million, or 18.7% of the population, have a disability. As more education, employment, communication, entertainment, civic participation, and government functions move primarily online, the high levels of web inaccessibility exclude important information from those with disabilities.

What makes a utility website design inaccessible to people with disabilities? Some website characteristics include:

  • Mouse-only navigation without keyboard navigation
  • Inaccessible online forms
  • No captions on videos
  • Reliance on color to provide information
  • Poor color contrast
  • Lack of text alternatives, or alt-text on images

Those with visual impairments face challenges when an electric cooperative or utility website doe not comply with screen-readers. Such websites typically fail to use text on graphics, links, forms or tables. For those with motor impairments, a cluttered layout, small buttons or links, and difficult navigability make websites unusable. For those with hearing impairments, the lack of audio or video captions can limit accessible content. For those with cognitive impairments, design, layout, and navigability play a crucial role in the website’s usability.

Experiences with the internet vary by type of disability. The range of potential barriers to persons with disabilities in the online environment is extensive. However, there are achievable means to create an inclusive online experience. To promote the creation and maintenance of compliant websites, Powerful has built several key features including:

  • Enhanced print functionality
  • Mouse-free navigation with landing tiles
  • Larger font sizes with on-page zoom functionality
  • Required alt-tags
  • Form field labels

ADA Expectations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently published new website accessibility guidance. The DOJ emphasizes that “State/local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations must make sure they communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities.”

As a result of the growing number of lawsuits, organizations are forced to recognize the importance of digital accessibility. It is imperative for organizations to understand the WCAG 2.1 standard and its impact. Now more than ever, an organization failing to address its website accessibility will become a target for litigation.

To meet these expectations, businesses and organizations must lean into making and maintaining web content that is accessible to all individuals, regardless of disability.

Here to Help

To protect your organization, increase your digital accessibility and reduce legal risk. Powerful’s team of trusted web experts have the knowledge and expertise to help your organization’s website become ADA compliant. Partner with Powerful to begin your digital accessibility initiative today!