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Do Websites Need to Be ADA Compliant?

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An interesting story has been making the rounds on the internet — does a website need to follow the same ADA standards that a physical business does? The answer, according to a recent case, would seem to be “yes.”

The National Federation of the Blind and the Disability Rights Advocates filed a lawsuit against Scribd, a social publishing company and digital library, claiming the website’s design and apps did not take people with disabilities into account. Scribd filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, saying it was not subject to ADA rules, but the court declined the motion, with a ruling that internet-based businesses must also comply with the ADA.

The DRA says the ruling will ensure that “more websites and apps will become accessible to people with disabilities.”

The main legal issue in question during the case was whether webmasters are providing a “place of public accommodation.” The statute of the ADA with this language includes 12 types of public accommodations, including the rather vague “Other sales and or rental establishment” category. The law was passed in 1988, long before internet business was even conceived of.

The court ruling in this case was that internet businesses would be considered an “other sales establishment.” The ADA was established to prevent disabled people from having a more difficult time than non-disabled people of doing business, and having a website that does not cater to people with disabilities would violate the spirit of this rule.

However, the law is still murky about this issue, and this is the one of the first few high-profile cases that have resulted in a ruling that public websites need to be ADA compliant.

The best course of action is to make your website and apps as compliant as possible, and you won’t have to worry about any litigation. This issue could begin to become more pervasive in coming years, especially with how prevalent internet business has become, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

For more information about the latest in ADA compliance standards for your business, especially regarding signage, contact us at Erie Custom Signs.

Filed Under: ADA News

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