As COVID-19 has forced many aspects of life to shift online, research shows that nearly all websites in America fail to meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities. Despite the U.S. Department of Justice’s affirmation that websites are considered places of public accommodation and must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 98 percent of U.S.-based webpages fail to do so.
That’s according to the 2020 Web Accessibility Annual Report compiled by the accessiBe initiative, which analyzed over 10 million webpages for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Non-compliance encompassed menus (98% of websites failed to comply); pop-ups (89% fail); buttons (83% fail); icons (76% fail); forms (71% fail); images (52% fail); and links (22% fail). The failure to meet ADA requirements leaves people with disabilities at a disadvantage in staying informed, connected, and able to receive the assistance they need. It could even expose businesses to lawsuits—a concept validated by a landmark 2019 ruling against Domino’s Pizza.
On the 30th anniversary of the ADA’s enactment, the Ruderman Family Foundation, an internationally recognized disability rights organization, has called for all websites in the country to become accessible by the year 2025.
“Thirty years on from the ADA, it is disturbing and unacceptable that the internet remains largely inaccessible to people with disabilities,” notes Jay Ruderman, Foundation president. “During the current pandemic, people with disabilities are already experiencing heightened vulnerability when it comes to their access to medical care as well as social and human services, in addition to the mental health implications of living in isolation due to social distancing. In this environment, it is imperative that the internet becomes part of the solution, rather than exacerbating the problem.” Check out the complete report at accessibe.com/lp/2020-report. PM