As a lawyer, you know that it’s important to stay in compliance with the ADA. But did you know that your website must also be compliant?
This blog post will go over the specific requirements for making your website ADA compliant.
We’ll also provide tips for ensuring that your website is accessible to all potential clients. Stay in compliance and make sure your website is up to par – read on for more information!
What are the ADA compliance requirements for law firm websites?
The United States has several laws that provide civil rights to people with disabilities. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), passed in 2008.
These acts prohibit discrimination against people based on their disabilities and require institutions to make reasonable accommodations for these individuals.
One of these elements is making your website accessible to all potential clients – regardless of disability or impairment.
By law, any website that collects information from or about individuals must be compliant with federal legislation surrounding this issue. This means that your website is subject to ADA compliance requirements.
What exactly does ADA compliance entail?
According to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”
This law applies to brick-and-mortar businesses and virtual places of business – including internet retailers and service providers.
Essentially, if your firm has a presence online, you are obligated to make your web content accessible to people. This includes making changes to your website to improve the site’s usability and accessibility for those with disabilities.
What sorts of legal and ethical considerations must be considered when it comes to ADA compliance?
There are a variety of factors that need to be addressed, including:
- Designing your website so that it conforms to established web design guidelines – such as ensuring that the site is compatible with screen readers (for those individuals who cannot see images), larger fonts can resize text size, content has appropriate tags (such as headings, lists, etc.) and there are no horizontal scrolling issues;
- Ensuring that your website is compatible with commonly used assistive devices and technologies (such as screen magnifiers);
- Employing clear and consistent navigation;
- Ensuring that content is available in alternate formats (such as website text or PDFs) upon request and that these files are clearly labelled.
How can law firms make sure their websites are ADA compliant?
Work with web designers who have experience creating accessible sites – they’ll be able to help you assess your site’s current level of compliance with the ADA and any potential areas for improvement. Ensure that all pages on your website are searchable using popular web browsers;
Make sure your content is written in a clear, concise manner with minimal jargon;
Ensure that incoming links open in new windows, so visitors don’t lose their place on the page when they follow a link from another carrier and that the new link targets a different page rather than a specific section on your page;
Include meta-descriptions for all pages on your website to ensure search engines can read text from images.
Why should law firms make their websites ADA compliant?
The law is clear about making changes to your website for it to be accessible – but there are also ethical reasons you should want to do this, such as building trust with potential clients, reinforcing your position as an expert who understands legal issues faced by people with disabilities, improving access to information and ensuring you remain competitive.
Even if someone isn’t explicitly affected by disability or impairment themselves, they may know someone who is, so it’s important not to ignore this population.
What can law firms do to ensure their website content is accessible?
Just because the ADA only applies specifically to physical locations does not mean that this legislation has no bearing on websites. It’s a must for all organizations with a presence online.
Most people nowadays use the internet as a source of information and other resources, so if your website isn’t accessible, you’re missing out on business from a large portion of potential customers. Many state laws even require individual companies to have an accessible site.
This means that both ethics and legality are good reasons for making sure your law firm website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Why Should Attorneys Want to Make Their Websites Accessible to Persons With Disabilities?
One of the reasons attorneys should want to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities is because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s also the law in many cases.
But making your website accessible doesn’t just mean checking a few boxes and calling it good – there are many things you need to consider to ensure that your website is genuinely accessible to everyone who needs it.
Do law firms have to comply with CCPA?
There is a lot of confusion about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and whether or not law firms have to comply with it. The short answer is: yes, law firms do have to comply with CCPA if they are doing business in California.
CCPA applies to any company that does business in California and has collected personal information from at least one California resident in the past 12 months. This includes law firms, as well as any other type of business.
Note that the California Attorney General is now enforcing this law, which means you can be exposed to lawsuits or penalties for not complying with CCPA.
What are the levels of ADA compliance?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the ADA compliance requirements for law firm websites will vary depending on the specific needs of each business. However, there are four general levels of ADA compliance:
- Awareness: Ensuring that your website is accessible to people with disabilities is the first step in achieving ADA compliance. This can be done by ensuring that all images have alternative text descriptions, using headings and labels to create a clear structure for your content, and providing transcripts or captions for any multimedia content.
- Accessibility: making sure that your website can be accessed and used by people with disabilities is the next step. This includes making sure that all content is accessible through a keyboard, that users can adjust the text and background colors to meet their preferences, and that they can download any transcripts or multimedia content.
- Digital access: ensuring that your website is accessible across multiple forms of digital media is another critical step towards achieving ADA compliance. This includes ensuring that visually impaired people have access to audio features like transcripts or captioned multimedia content, that all users have access to touchscreen devices without barriers, and that the website is usable by both left-and right-handed individuals.
- Compatibility: ensuring that your website remains compatible with future technologies will help ensure ADA compliance now and in the future. This includes updating browsers or screen readers as their manufacturers update them, using HTML code to validate your webpages, and keeping your website up to date with the latest accessibility features.
When it comes to website accessibility, law firms are responsible for ensuring that their websites are compliant with the ADA and all applicable laws.
This includes making sure that all content is accessible to those with disabilities and ensuring that all features and functionality are available to everyone.
There are many ways to make your website more accessible, and it’s essential to take the time to avoid any legal issues down the road. While here, I hope you found this article helpful and informative about “ADA Compliance Requirements for Law Firm Websites.”