Americans with Disabilities Act
What is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Unable to access a website due to a disability? An Americans with Disabilities Act compliance attorney can help you protect your rights under the law.
We live in an age of rapid technological innovation. The Internet has brought many advantages to society, from the immediate access of otherwise unattainable information to purchases and transactions from the comfort of one’s home. Along with these and other advantages afforded to the general public, individuals with disabilities can benefit greatly from the technological advancement driven by the Internet. However, in order to ensure equal enjoyment of the Internet and all that it offers, websites must be fully accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “places of public accommodation” are required to be fully accessible to allow all members of the general public (including individuals with disabilities) full and equal access. Although the ADA does not explicitly define websites as “places of public accommodation,” courts interpreting the ADA have routinely included websites offering products or services to the general public in the category of “places of public accommodation.” These websites are therefore subject to the ADA’s accessibility requirements.
If you have a disability and have come across websites that may not be ADA compliant, Consumer Attorneys can help. We believe that all individuals have a right to receive information in as many forms as possible, and if a website fails to meet your needs, we are here to fight on your behalf.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT RIGHTS
Common Non-Accessible Website Violations
Unfortunately, websites that are not designed to meet the standards outlined in the ADA pose significant barriers to the access of the products and/or services that the websites offer to the public (known as “access barriers”). Exact access barriers can vary based on an individual’s disability. For example, visually-impaired individuals who commonly use screen reading software to access websites can be prevented from accessing and enjoying a website’s products and/or services by a range of access barriers, such as:
- The lack of a text equivalent for non-text elements and visual content (such as pictures);
- The lack of forms designed for visually-impaired individuals with the same information and functionality as for sighted persons;
- The inability to resize text that lacks assistive technology without losing content or functionality;
- If the content enforces a time limit, the user is not able to extend, adjust or disable it;
- The inability to determine the purpose of each hyperlink from the text of the link itself or the context of the link;
- Content that requires input from the user (such as CAPTCHA prompts) without labels or instructions explaining what input is needed; or
- PDFs that cannot be read by screen reading software.
These and other access barriers can prevent visually-impaired individuals from accessing certain websites. Likewise, individuals with other disabilities (including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, individuals who are mobility disabled, or individuals who are cognitively or intellectually disabled) can be prevented from accessing products or services offered to the public by numerous access barriers found on websites.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Daniel C. Cohen
For the past three decades, the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act has helped people with mobility and sensory limitations by breaking down barriers that had prevented them from participating in society.
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