Ada website lawsuits a growing problem for retailers

MARISA HARRILCHAK | August 28, 2018

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It’s that time of year again when families across the country are rushing to complete their back-to-school shopping. And while parents are out at stores, many will notice signs that designate access for shoppers with disabilities – from parking spaces to restrooms to dressing rooms. These requirements are thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a 28-year-old federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Retailers support the goals of the ADA and work to facilitate access to their stores to best accommodate all customers regardless of ability. While ADA requirements in physical stores are, by and large, easy to understand, the standards are less black-and-white when it comes to online shopping. It is straightforward enough to measure the height of a restroom grab bar to test its ADA compliance. It is far more complex to accurately measure or predict how a specific website will interact with a specific assistive technology and its user. So, as ecommerce grows, retailers are increasingly faced with ADA lawsuits that claim their websites are not accessible, particularly for the visually impaired.

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