In this blog I’d like to talk a little bit about American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and your websites, quickly covering some emerging issues and simple corrective actions you can take.
If you are an auto dealer in Florida or New York, your website is likely under scrutiny by lawyers representing potential customers. They review your site to see if it is accessible to potential customers with disabilities, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. In 2018, there were over 2,200 ADA compliance lawsuits filed – with almost 1,600 of them being in New York alone. The challenge of accessibility for dealers is made harder by a lack of agreement on the definition of “ADA Compliant” in the courts. Also, sites with large inventories and technical details, such as VIN numbers, are particularly difficult to make accessible.
As a dealer, what are you to do? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed a set of standards – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – which are now on their second version. Dealer websites should meet at least WCAG 2.1 Level A accessibility guidelines at a minimum and should strive to meet Level AA guidelines where practical. These guidelines focus on four areas known as POUR:
The W3C has a quick review checklist to assess your current website for accessibility against WCAG requirements. As a dealer, you should take a few minutes and check your sites, identify any obvious areas of weakness, and work with your website provider and digital marketing agency to bring the site in line with the WCAG 2.1 A Standards.
When you build a website, I recommend that you check that your website provider can start with an approach that is designed to meet WCAG 2.1 A Standards as follows:
Will this prevent an enterprising lawyer from suing your dealership? No. Will a website that focuses on accessibility in design and applies available accessibility tools reduce your exposure and risk? Yes.