Beginning Steps You Can Take To Make Your Website Compliant
Whether or not you have received a demand letter, have been served with a lawsuit or have just now become aware that your website is not WCAG 2.0 AA compliant… there is one thing you need to do, and that is… bring your website into compliance with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
Step One: Speak with a website developer who is knowledgeable in website compliance matters. The developer should first run a complete diagnostic on your website to identify the specific areas that need to be brought into compliance. The developer can then assist you in determining what work needs to be done and the cost involved, as well as create a reasonable timetable to complete the necessary work to bring your website into compliance with the WCAG 2.0 AA standards.
Step Two: If you have just received a demand letter or you have been served with a complaint, you need to seek competent legal representation immediately! It is best to use an attorney who is familiar with website accessibility cases or at least knowledgeable in the area of ADA cases. Legal costs can add up quickly, so why hire an attorney who is unfamiliar in this practice area and needs to spend billable time (at your expense) to do research in order to educate himself or herself about the nuances and other legal issues surrounding ADA law. If you need a referral, check with your local bar association.
Step Three: Review your business insurance policy and/or contact your insurer to see if you are covered in any way for a lawsuit that may be filed against you. Also, by promptly notifying your insurer of a claim, it will help ensure that your rights under your policy are preserved.
Step Four: Prepare an Accessibility Statement to be included on your website. Although you may not yet have completed the necessary modifications to your website to bring it into conformance with the WCAG standards, it may be a good time to use your Accessibility Statement to inform visitors to your site that you are aware of the importance of website accessibility and that you are in the process of integrating WCAG standards into your site. It is also a good idea to have your attorney review your proposed Accessibility Statement to ensure that it does not contain any misrepresentations or other misstatements.
Step Five: Realize that website accessibility is not a ‘one and done’ proposition. Maintaining website accessibility conformance requires an ongoing commitment. Also, you should commence the development of an employee training program and develop a training schedule to train your employees on website accessibility and other compliance matters. You should also designate one or more persons on your staff who will be responsible for assisting users with website access and usability issues.