Do Websites Have to Comply with ADA Guidelines?

In spite of the fact that the ADA does not apply to private clubs and religious organizations, most websites must comply. The courts and DOJ have interpreted that ADA compliance is clearly mandatory for websites in two categories:

  1. State or local government websites
  2. Business websites


The majority of ADA website lawsuits are filed against businesses, but the number of lawsuits against government websites has risen over the past year.

It is common to file Title II claims against government websites — or those that are funded by the government, such as libraries, schools, and parks. The ADA’s Title II section covers state and local government services, programs, and activities.

As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, claims against business websites, including private businesses, are referred to as Title III claims.

ADA and Section 508 Compliance: What’s the Difference?

People with disabilities are entitled to equal access to information and technology under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

A federal agency or any organization that receives federal funding, including contractors and suppliers, is covered by Section 508, unlike the ADA. WCAG Level AA is the standard by which federal agencies must conform to make their information and communications technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities under Section 508.

Non-compliance: What are the risks?

The number of ADA-related lawsuits increased by 400% between 2017 and 2021, averaging more than ten a day on average. Numerous lawsuits and DOJ settlements support this interpretation.

According to one estimate, demand letters for web accessibility increased from 40,000 in 2018 to over 265,000 in 2020.

Users can seek restitution in the form of tens of thousands of dollars with these letters.

Does the ADA have any mandatory guidelines?

The DOJ recommends that businesses use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to assess the accessibility of their websites and digital content since the ADA does not have technical standards for web accessibility. WCAG 2.0 Level AA is the benchmark for web accessibility, even though it is not codified into law.

What can I do to make my website ADA-compliant?

In spite of the DOJ’s statement that “non-compliance with [WCAG 2.0 Level AA] does not necessarily indicate compliance with the ADA,” the best approach is to conform to WCAG 2.0 AA.

After all, WCAG 2.0 provides a detailed roadmap for delivering an accessible browsing experience for everyone. You will be required to follow it anyway in a consent decree or settlement under the ADA. It is a good idea to use a checklist based on WCAG 2.0 AA standards as a starting point on your path to ADA compliance.

Boulevard can assist if your current team lacks the expertise or resources to find or fix accessibility issues on your website.