If you work in higher education (or any public entity), you have knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the importance of complying with its standards. However, what many institutions do not realize is that ADA compliance now reaches beyond physical spaces. In order to be fully compliant, schools must meet standards on the web as well.
Think about it, if a website isn’t built to be accessible for all users it will lead to a drop in viewership. Therefore, schools must make sure their content is designed and developed with accessibility in mind. However, ADA compliance is not just important because it allows more people to access your site, it’s also important because institutions could face federal investigation on top of litigation if they do not comply.
Digital accessibility is a requirement for all colleges and universities and the Department of Justice (DOJ) is serious about enforcing it. In fact, in just 5 months as many as 350 nationwide ADA Compliancy investigations were initiated. The DOJ investigated hundreds of school districts and higher education institutions to confirm they’re upholding their legal obligations under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Beyond federal investigations, many schools are also facing legal action. In 2016 a Seattle school settled an ADA compliancy lawsuit for over $800,000.00. During this same time, lawsuits against higher education institutions also ramped up, establishing settlement agreements for schools such as: Ohio State University, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, University of Maryland, University of Colorado, and many more.
To avoid litigation and comply with the ADA Website Accessibility Regulations (WCAG 2.0 AA), many schools are being proactive in fixing their accessibility issues. Although it seems daunting, making your website comply with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines is achievable — and you don’t have to move mountains to do it.
We’re here to help! At EFK our team of ADA experts will run a free accessibility audit of your site and discuss the evaluation with you. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to being ADA compliant. If you’d like to learn more about our free audit, visit us at ada.efkgroup.com.