If your company is determined to build an inclusive culture, it’s important to start from the first touchpoint people have with your business: your website. Just about everyone has an internet connection these days, and that isn’t restricted to people with full sight.
If your company has any kind of web presence, it needs to be inclusive. Blind and low-vision people have a legal right to equal access to your website, meaning they should be able to benefit from it the same way as people with full sight. If your site isn’t already compliant, there’s a good chance you’ll receive an ADA demand letter.
What is an ADA Demand Letter?
In short, an ADA demand letter is a complaint against your website. It will explain exactly what the issues are with your website and what the law firm that’s sending you the letter thinks you need to do in order to fix them.
Since these letters come from lawyers, it’s understandable if your first reaction is to panic. However, it’s important to remember that this letter doesn’t have to mean a big lawsuit or a lot of money out of pocket for your company.
What this letter does mean is that you have an opportunity to create a more inclusive environment for people who are blind or have low vision. If you do receive an ADA demand letter, your best bet is not to ignore it or to fight it, but to take a good look at what it’s asking for and create a plan to make your website compliant.
Your Next Steps
Before you do anything, you’ll want to bring in an expert. While it’s true that an ADA demand letter doesn’t necessarily mean problems for you, it’s always best to cover all of your bases.
Work with your consultant to figure out how to respond to the letter; whatever you do, don’t ignore it. First, because making your website ADA compliant is the ethical thing to do. Second, because there’s a good chance that you’ll be looking at a lawsuit if you do ignore it. Responding to the letter quickly and thoroughly is a show of good faith.
Next, you’ll want to have your website audited so you can start to make a plan. It’s important to make sure that you’re working with an expert in the field. The more experience they have, the more appropriate changes they’ll be able to recommend.
Finally, once you have a plan in place, you’ll want to start acting on it. Make sure that you keep your consultant with you along the way to avoid any missteps.
Successful Complaint Resolution
In the end, you’ll want to achieve two goals:
- A compliant and inclusive website
- A swift, successful complaint resolution
Acting quickly on an ADA demand letter will make the process much smoother and help you put the whole situation behind you. Plus, it’ll give you the opportunity to improve your company’s inclusion and diversability (diverse ability) policies.
At Applied Development, one of our specialties is complaint resolution. We know that it can be stressful when you receive a complaint or a demand letter. That’s why we work closely with your team throughout the entire process to create a solution that works for all parties. If you have questions about ADA demand letters or 504/508 compliance, give us a call at 410.571.4016 or contact us here.