man looking through tablet screen

Website accessibility is more than hoopla. Businesses all over are starting to figure it out. A few grocery chains have discovered ADA actions speak louder than words.

In 2013, Safeway prepared and released the details of its negotiated commitment to make its on-line grocery portal accessible to disabled customers.

In 2014, the US DOJ settled a web accessibility complaint with Peapod, self-proclaimed as America’s leading Internet grocer.

Accessibility practices accepted by the company included a posted Accessibility Information Page, a designated web accessibility coordinator, and the use of WCAG 2.0 AA. Both actions received a great deal of attention and the results provided compliance guidance to help other private businesses begin or analyze their website status.

The result of another action on June 13, 2017 showed that compliance was indeed expected.  Winn-Dixie lost the first trial regarding the ADA and a private company’s website accessibility.

Winn Dixie Millidgeville, GA (7967696910)

A blind shopper filed a lawsuit because he could not access certain portions of the company’s website, such as online coupons. The chain’s loss demonstrated the Court’s concern about the relationship between technology in the digital age, civil rights, and accessible digital content.

The decision was a reminder that certain business practices must be followed, whether by choice or a harsh directive provided by law.

There is a sensible way to achieve current and pending WRA Section 508 compliance. It starts by developing an accessibility strategy. Following that is locating business communications that need changed and doing it. Next, widen the search to address all forms of communications and accessibility. Change the required areas to fit federal, state, and local guidelines.

Thousands upon thousands of small and large companies have questions about how Section 508 affects their operations and how to avoid legal action. Guidelines are available to indicate ways websites meet the accessibility standards for people with disabilities regarding:

  • Information and communication technology.
  • Products and service.

Other well-known laws supporting Section508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA include the:

  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. It addresses advanced communications products and services.
  • Communications Act, Section 255 addresses telecommunications products and services.

Accessibility Checklist Excerpts

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services created a free accessibility checklist for web-based intranet and internet information and applications. Helpful hints you’ll find include how to:

  1. Put in audio descriptions.
  2. Give alternate links to Image Maps.
  3. Create text transcript.
  4. Make an alt tag for every plug-in, video, audio file, etc.

Upbeat Attitudes Make Compliance Simpler

When you address compliance challenges with a can-do attitude and take it step by step, it’s easier to get the job done. Increase accessibility as you transform company culture and processes while changing documents. A company website that can be used despite disabilities like hearing loss, photosensitivity, and limited movement encourages more traffic and discourages complaints. Invite user feedback and run a test yourself using the accessibility checklist. Confirm HTML tags deliver the right information and graphics do not overcrowd the page. Keep a running documentation of results, recommendations, and changes that reflect your goal of making the website accessible to everyone.

 

RESOURCES

Accessibility checklist, 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications

Web Accessibility for Grocers, http://www.lflegal.com/2017/07/grocery-access/