Your eCommerce Website May Be At Risk Of an ADA Lawsuit

Mark William Lewis
Oct 7, 2019 · 3 min read

In 2018, almost 2,300 ADA lawsuits were filed against businesses across the US; most of those cases were targeting businesses with websites that were found to be not ADA compliant.

Domino’s is in the news right now for being sued under the ADA because their site and mobile app weren’t up to snuff with the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards.

Who’s At Risk?

The threat of a lawsuit may seem like a scare tactic, but it’s a reality thousands of businesses face. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that companies ensure that the same services that are available to non-disabled people are also accessible to people with disabilities, and that extends to businesses’ websites.

If your website hasn’t been specifically scanned and developed with ADA compliance in mind, a lawyer could be drafting a complaint against you right now. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or Magento; all web platforms are at risk.

Many small and medium business owners might think that they can fly under the radar, but we’ve seen eCommerce businesses with as low as $1m/year in revenue be forced to settle with plaintiffs for 6-figure amounts. The lawyers for these plaintiffs are targeting ecommerce websites that rank high in Google search results because they assume they have deep pockets or insurance that they have insurance that will result in an easy settlement. So the more successful you are, the more you’re at risk.

What can you do to prevent these kinds of lawsuits?

The best defense is a good offense. Even if your website isn’t perfectly compliant, the closer you get to full compliance, the less you’re at risk that a lawyer will think it’s worth it to pursue a case against you because right now, they’re looking for easy targets.

Scan

To find out whether your website is compliant, you’ll need to utilize a WGAC tool like SiteImprove to scan your entire website for potential compliance issues. Once you’ve scanned your site and found the issues, you’ll need to fix them.

Fix

When you have an eCommerce site with a lot of products and categories your scan might return thousands of pages with issues, but fortunately, if you have a good eCommerce platform and development partner to work with, some of those changes will only need to be made in specific templates and will apply across the entire site. So a little work goes a long way. You should work with your development partner to fix all the issues and then re-scan the site. Once you’ve determined you’ve fixed all the potential issues, you’re in a much less risky position.

Speak

Once you’ve begun the process of scanning and fixing your website to make sure it’s in compliance, it’s essential to post a statement on your website. A good example is https://www.tcby.com/our-commitment-accessibility, and they have a link in the footer titled Accessibility”.

Maintain

In addition to the initial scan, you’ll want to have your site regularly scanned to ensure that future changes don’t affect your compliance.

Need Help?

If you’re in need of a development partner to assist or you’d like to get a free initial assessment of your site, contact us at info@netalico.com.

Originally published at Netalico Commerce.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store