Should You Still Be Concerned about ADA Website Compliance?

  • Share:
technology

CUTrendScan

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees disabled individuals equal access to physical locations like brick-and-mortar stores, and courts have ruled that the same accessibility extends to online services such as websites. However, the ADA has no solid regulations on what compliance would entail, and after years of waiting for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue new rules, the agency announced in December of 2017 that it was withdrawing the guidance document related to the matter, effectively curtailing any new regulations for the near future.  

But what does a lack of new regulations mean for businesses? Without set regulations from the DOJ, what constitutes accessibility remains ambiguous and leaves organizations open to lawsuits. Historically, many courts have sided with plaintiffs against businesses, often leading to settlements and sweeping changes to the defendant’s website to make it more accessible.

Lawsuits and demand letters have come from many sources, including advocacy groups and individuals. Some business leaders have characterized these lawsuits as a type of legal extortion, with individuals taking advantage of the current lack of guidelines from the Department of Justice and seeking to profit from it.

“Many credit unions have been adversely affected by the tactics of unscrupulous plaintiff attorneys who appear to be more concerned with collecting settlements than advancing the spirit of the ADA,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle in a recent press release.

Regardless of the source of these lawsuits, website accessibility experts urge businesses to work proactively in ensuring that their websites are as accessible as possible, not only to ward off possible lawsuits, but also to better serve their customers.

The DOJ shelves updated guidance for ADA

The ADA itself does not define online accessibility, and the Department of Justice has not issued a set of requirements that organizations need to meet for compliance. Yet, courts have found that under Title III of the ADA, businesses are required to offer the appropriate accommodation for disabled individuals online just as like in their physical locations.

The Department of Justice has extended the deadline for releasing its interpretation of the law time and time again, from 2015 to 2016, and then in December of 2017, the department withdrew the guidance document related to new ADA regulation, sidelining an official interpretation indefinitely.

Without clear guidelines, institutions like credit unions remain at a greater risk of lawsuit. Already, more than 100 such lawsuits have been filed against credit unions and many more against other organizations, yet the DOJ continues in neglecting to update the ADA. After the decision to withdraw the guidance document in late 2017, the issue has been put on an inactive list, and there is currently no word on whether the DOJ intends to take another look at it.

In May, the House Appropriations Committee approved an appropriations bill with a provision that the Department of Justice put regulations back on the table. More than 100 members of congress have also petitioned the DOJ to update the ADA in a letter spearheaded by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.). The DOJ’s response to Rep. Budd, as reported by the Credit Union Times, indicated that department is currently evaluating whether new regulations are necessary.

Current guidelines are ambiguous

Since the Department of Justice has not issued a clarification on website compliance, organizations (and courts) are looking elsewhere for these guidelines. Currently, the recognized consensus for web accessibility is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which operates on three levels: A, AA and AAA. WCAG is published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium, a standards organization for the internet founded by Tim Berners-Lee. WCAG 2.0, the most widely used version, was first published in 2008.

As the World Wide Web Consortium is a trade organization and not a government entity, and WCAG is not a series of formal regulations but instead a set of recommendations, it has left some ambiguity in how far companies should go to make sure their websites are accessible.

Many businesses and even government organizations are not prepared for website accessibility. In 2017, a study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that roughly 85 percent of government websites did not meet WCAG guidelines. To add further confusion to the issue, on June 5, 2018, the World Wide Web Consortium released an updated version of its guidelines: WCAG 2.1. While it does not appear to change any of the existing “success criteria” already within the 2.0 version, the update does add a number of new criteria. What this means for businesses is still very much up in the air.

  • Share:


« Return to "Trends"
TrendScan logo
<< Back to Articles

Latest Trends

  1. Opportunities and Risks of Banking for Marijuana-Related Businesses
  2. Experience Company Growth and Discovery with Employee-Driven Communication
  3. Should You Still Be Concerned about ADA Website Compliance?
  4. The Member Service Experience
  5. Become a Tax Resource for Members
  6. Don't Get Snagged on ADA Compliance Requirements
  7. Are You Ready to Adopt a Continuous Performance Management System?
  8. Anticipating Change with a Succession Plan
  9. The Role of HR and Hiring Managers in the Candidate Experience
  10. What Is a DDoS Attack and Why Should Credit Unions Be Concerned?
  11. The Planning Process - Improved
  12. The Performance Management Conundrum: Structure vs. Creativity
  13. Consumer Attitudes Toward Digital Advertising
  14. Building a Website with the User in Mind
  15. Is Your Executive Compensation Still Appealing?
  16. Are You Properly Rewarding Your CEO?
  17. What Credit Unions Should Do with Ambiguous ADA Standards
  18. Content Marketing: Well Worth the Effort
  19. 5 Things Credit Unions Can Learn from Cyber Attacks
  20. Your Social Media Accounts Deserve Quality Content
  21. The Quest for a One-Stop Shop Financial App
  22. Credit Unions Could Replace Predatory Lenders
  23. 7 Tax Changes Your Members Need to Know About
  24. Learning Management Systems: What Credit Unions Should Consider
  25. Continuous Performance Management is Disrupting HR
  26. Volunteer and Young Board Members Need Development
  27. Americans’ Lack of Financial Literacy Is an Opportunity for Credit Unions
  28. What’s Hot in Performance Management Technology
  29. Credit Union Compensation: Philosophy or Strategy?
  30. 3 Succession Plans Your Credit Union Needs
  31. The Website Audit Your Credit Union Needs
  32. Cut Through the Noise and Deliver Value Members Want
  33. The Importance of Creating Quality Content
  34. How Useful Are Member Personas for Credit Union Marketing Teams?
  35. Optimizing Websites for Voice: What You Need to Know
  36. Why You Should Invest in an Applicant Tracking System
  37. Consumer Appetites in Mobile Innovation
  38. What Borrowers Wished Credit Unions Knew
  39. Why HR Should Take Advantage of Employee Self Service
  40. Shifts and Trends to Know About in E-Learning
  41. 3 Website Design Trends for 2019
  42. Just How Distracted Are Consumers?
  43. Selling Payments and Wealth Management Services
  44. 3 Key Factors for Creating Good Content
  45. Build Up Membership Through Supportive Savings Programs
  46. Wanted: Apps for Clarification and Simplification
  47. The Win-Win Results of Prize-Linked Savings for Credit Unions and Members
  48. People Analytics: Bringing HR and Data Together
  49. 3 Ways Credit Unions Can Prepare for a Cyber Extortion
  50. Prioritizing the Credit Union Employee Experience
  51. Do You Know Why Payday Loans Are Used so Much?
  52. Popular DDoS Mitigation Methods in 2019
  53. The Credit Union Advantage for the Digital Customer
  54. Preparing a Transparency Communication Plan
  55. The Quickest Way to Understand Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)
  56. Preparing for Compensation Transparency
  57. Is Your CMS the Right Fit?
  58. 4 Steps to Increased Social Media ROI
  59. Keeping Up with Digital Lending Convenience
  60. 6 Factors for Choosing the Right ESS System
  61. Are You Missing Out on the Power of Video?
  62. A Simple Way to Unify Your Marketing Efforts
  63. How Credit Unions Can Formalize the Branding Process
  64. 5 Guideposts to Measure Your Brand Promise Against
  65. 2 Big FinTech Goals for Credit Unions
  66. Making Sure You Have the Right Leaders in the Right Seats
  67. What the C-Suite Wants out of Social Media
  68. Are Your Landing Pages up to Snuff?
  69. The Dream Team for Successful Online Customer Interactions
  70. How to Identify What You Want in an ESS
  71. The Best Compliance Training with New Topics You Will Need
  72. Empowering Employees and HR with the Latest Technology
  73. Credit Unions Can Compete with Shadow Banks
  74. Identifying Marijuana-Related Businesses
  75. Caution: Customers Don't Always Ask for What They Want
  76. How Credit Unions Can Embrace Storytelling in Marketing
  77. How to Generate Content with Fewer Resources
  78. Content, Tools, and Channels to Capture Consumer Attention
  79. If Your Site Isn't Mobile Optimized, You're Losing Out
  80. Protect Your Credit Union with a Website Accessibility Response Plan
  81. Don't Underestimate the Power of Financial Education
  82. Don't Undervalue Your Brand Promise
  83. 3 Factors Impacting Credit Union Compensation Plans
  84. Underestimate the Onboarding Process at Your Peril
  85. Leveraging Social Media for Member Engagement
  86. 3 Brand Promises Credit Unions Can Learn From
  87. Finding the Best Platform for HR Technology
  88. Why You Need ERM in Your Strategic Planning
  89. Serving the Underbanked and Millennials
  90. A Content Management System Will Make Your Life Easier
  91. Enterprise Risk Management — Where to Start
  92. Bankers associations’ opposition to mergers does a disservice to member banks and to consumers
  93. The Quickest Way to Find the Right (and Safest) CMS
  94. Is Your Credit Union Supported by the Four Pillars of Digital Banking?
  95. Omnichannel Delivery: Banking Based On Members
  96. The Easiest Way to Deliver Content for Employee Development
  97. Remaining a Player in the New Home-Buying Experience
  98. You Know You Need an LMS — Now What?
  99. You Might Already Have the Solution to Your Current Talent Competency Gap
  100. Predict the Future of Mortgage Lending with Analytics
  101. Achieving the Golden “Narrative Transport” in Brand Storytelling
  102. The Secret to Future-Proofing Your Organization
  103. The Process of Crafting a Relatable, Moving Brand Story

Related Trends

  1. Remaining a Player in the New Home-Buying Experience
  2. Predict the Future of Mortgage Lending with Analytics
  3. Is Your Credit Union Supported by the Four Pillars of Digital Banking?
  4. Omnichannel Delivery: Banking Based On Members
  5. The Quickest Way to Find the Right (and Safest) CMS
  6. A Content Management System Will Make Your Life Easier
  7. Credit Unions Could Replace Predatory Lenders
  8. 5 Things Credit Unions Can Learn from Cyber Attacks
  9. Do You Know Why Payday Loans Are Used so Much?
  10. What Borrowers Wished Credit Unions Knew
  11. Serving the Underbanked and Millennials
  12. Should You Still Be Concerned about ADA Website Compliance?
  13. Don't Get Snagged on ADA Compliance Requirements
  14. Consumer Appetites in Mobile Innovation
  15. The Quest for a One-Stop Shop Financial App
  16. Wanted: Apps for Clarification and Simplification
  17. What Credit Unions Should Do with Ambiguous ADA Standards
  18. What Is a DDoS Attack and Why Should Credit Unions Be Concerned?
  19. Building a Website with the User in Mind
  20. 3 Ways Credit Unions Can Prepare for a Cyber Extortion
  21. 3 Website Design Trends for 2019
  22. The Credit Union Advantage for the Digital Customer
  23. Optimizing Websites for Voice: What You Need to Know
  24. Is Your CMS the Right Fit?
  25. 2 Big FinTech Goals for Credit Unions
  26. Caution: Customers Don't Always Ask for What They Want
  27. The Website Audit Your Credit Union Needs
  28. Keeping Up with Digital Lending Convenience
  29. Protect Your Credit Union with a Website Accessibility Response Plan
  30. Credit Unions Can Compete with Shadow Banks
  31. Popular DDoS Mitigation Methods in 2019

Industry insights
to your inbox!

Subscribe