April 15, 2023 01:50 PM
7 Minute Read
With Skyrocketing ADA Title III Lawsuits & Booming E-Commerce, Food Industry Brands Should Avoid Potential Litigation Via Compliance.
Disabled people are 20% of the world's population. The ADA is a law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. This includes discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of daily life, including employment, transportation, and public accommodations, including websites.
Making your website ADA compliant is not only an ethical practice but a legal requirement. We're seeing more and more food industry companies get hit with demand letters. So we're calling it to your attention.
In this post, we'll break down why making your website ADA compliant is both essential and can be quite beneficial for your business.
Is Your Website Accessible To People With Disabilities?
Because of the DOJ's official position that business websites should meet specific accessibility standards, we believe the number of lawsuits related to non-compliance will quickly rise. This situation is escalating. It can happen to your company. But it's completely preventable.
The Food Industry Is Impacted
An increasing number of small to mid-sized businesses are getting hit with thousands of lawsuits and demand letters because of website accessibility non-compliance.
It's no wonder the National Retail Federation issued a warning urging companies to take this more seriously. E-commerce and the food industry are two of the most impacted.
Making your website ADA compliant increases its accessibility for people with disabilities. Individuals with visual, auditory, or motor impairments often face difficulties navigating websites that are not designed with accessibility in mind. However, by making your website accessible, you ensure all individuals, regardless of their abilities, can easily access your content. And buy your products!
Improve Your User Experience
An ADA compliant website is designed to provide a better user experience for all users. This includes individuals with disabilities who often face difficulties navigating websites. An accessible website is designed with clear navigation, easy-to-read text, and alternative text for images, making it easier for all users to access and understand your content.
Avoid Legal Issues
Failure to comply with ADA requirements can lead to legal issues and costly lawsuits. By making your website ADA compliant, you ensure your business is operating within the confines of the law.
- 37% of 2022 Title III lawsuits are due to web compliance
- The DOJ affirmed Title III of the ADA applies to websites, Nov. 2018
- 1,500+ demand letters were sent per week in 2022
- 97% of demand letters settled outside of court averaging $5k - $20k per case
Increased Customer Base & Inclusion
An accessible website can increase your customer base. There are over 61 million individuals with disabilities in the United States alone.
You can tap into this large and underserved market. It's a huge step toward creating a world that promotes inclusion. One which values everyone for who they are – regardless of skills.
The disabled are very brand loyal. If you're a specialty food brand, think what that says about your brand when they're included in your website. When you've made it a point to say "you matter to us."
An ADA compliant website often has improved search engine optimization (SEO). This is because an accessible website is designed with clean code, clear headings, and descriptive text, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site.
A Simple, Cost-Effective Solution
We set out to find a simple, easy-to-implement, low-cost solution. But as we researched, it turns out web coding is not cheap. And web plug-ins might achieve only 20% compliance.
A simple, effective AI-powered platform we liked the best and recommend to clients is accessiBe. It gets you compliant in 48 hours or less, is automated, and won’t mess with any of your precious code.
- Affordable: Two options: $49/mo. or 1x fee $490 (save 20%)
- Efficient: Fast integration & quick turnaround
- Compliant: Accessibility statement & certifications
- Trusted: By over 180k website worldwide
- Fast Install: We set you up using your brand color
Disabled Access Tax Credit
Finally, to help defray your overall compliance expenses, the IRS offers a Disabled Access Tax Credit. Listed under Section 44 of the IRS Code, the DATC covers 50% of eligible access expenditures made during the previous tax year.
There's no credit for the first $250 of the expenditures. So it's subtracted accordingly. For example, say you choose the $490 accessiBe option (annual fee). Subtract $250 from that, leaving $240 and get 50% of what’s left from the IRS back in the form of a $120 DATC. This means you'd pay $370 a year for ADA compliance.
Best Practice That Benefits Your Business
Making your website ADA compliant is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical practice that benefits your business. Avoid the cost and hassle of possible litigation and ensure that your website is designed to cater to all individuals, regardless of their abilities.
Happy Online Selling,