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Website Accessibility Becoming More Necessary

Websites should include features that address accessibility. The recent trend in case law and the increased number of legal threats from “trolls” create good reasons for website owners to include appropriate software or other reasonable accommodations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), or its update version WCAG 2.1, have become standards adopted by courts and, to some degree, the Department of Justice for what a website should implement to be properly accessible. There is still a question of whether a website — without an affiliated brick-and-mortar store — is subject to the ADA, but taking care of this situation is often less expensive than diffusing a legal threat. Websites should add an “Accessibility” notice that the site is in compliance with WCAG, or in the process of becoming compliant. Be sure that any implementation is actually progressing; do not compound the risk by overstating the level of compliance. Accepted accessibility standards — often addressing deaf and blind users — focus on the principles of a website being perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.

Ned T. Himmelrich
410-576-4171 nhimmelrich@gfrlaw.com