What is ADA Website Compliance (2023)?

ADA website compliance is the prevailing legal view that the Americans with Disabilities act generally applies to websites.

Now it’s important to emphasize the word generally because the ADA is applied unevenly depending on what court you’re in.

So you have to remember there are two court systems there are the state courts and there are the federal courts and within the federal courts there are 11 circuits that would potentially hear a case involving the American Disabilities Act and website accessibility.

So it’s important to keep that in mind – the ADA is applied unevenly.

So the other- the other important thing to keep in mind is that the ADA does not explicitly require digital accessibility of private entities.

So there’s nowhere in the Americans with Disabilities act that you’re going to find how to make a website accessible and be- definitively be compliant with the ADA, but where this prevailing legal view originated was when the DOJ, the Department of Justice, took the stance that the ADA did apply to websites and mobile apps and they did institute private enforcement actions against entities whose websites and apps they deemed inaccessible.

So it is- it is the DOJ stance that the ADA does require accessibility of websites and apps but the DOJ has said that we have flexibility because there is no formal federal prescription on what is what is necessary to make websites and apps and other digital content accessible.

Now we have the general reference to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which are technical standards that were- that are put forth, put out by the World Wide Web Consortium which is a an international private organization, nonprofit organization that establishes technical standards so these technical standards are helpful but they are not necessary- they are not necessary for ADA compliance; they’re best practice.

But what actually constitutes, what actually can conclusively make a website ADA compliant is unknown. But the DOJ, again, they are the regulatory and enforcement agency for title two and title three of the ADA and they have stated that websites and other digital assets need to be accessible.

So the Americans with Disabilities Act is a is a civil law that prohibits discrimination in the use of goods, services, facilities, privileges, etc. of any place of public accommodation. And websites are generally places of public accommodation and particularly when they involve commerce and they are involved in intrastate activity which by their very nature websites typically are.

So there aren’t there there is not- when it comes to when it comes to websites and  ADA  compliance it’s a it’s a loose topic, it’s a floating topic, it’s subject to interpretation particularly within the courts and what happens is we see private litigation in- initiated and when that happens then a controller owner operator of a website is forced to react. But this is what it generally comes down to.