Beginning in 2018, the Department of Justice expanded ADA accessibility requirements beyond physical businesses to online storefronts. Businesses’ failure to consider the needs of disabled users is resulting in an increasing number of lawsuits brought under the ADA.
Defendants in such lawsuits include Starbucks, McDonalds, Outback Steakhouse, and most recently, Domino’s Pizza, demonstrating that restaurants are particularly vulnerable to ADA lawsuits and must seriously consider whether or not their websites are accommodating the needs of all users.
There are a lot of measures that restaurants and food service businesses can take to improve web accessibility, and we recommend starting with the following basics.
Alt Text – “This is an easy fix and one of the biggest red flags for accessibility lawsuits,” says George Gabrelian, lead developer at TOH. Restaurants should make sure that all of the images, coupons, and other non-text content include a text description. These text descriptions are critical for people who rely on Screen Reading technology and inform users of the content if the image doesn’t load.
Keyboard Navigability – It’s important that the website be completely navigable by keyboard only. People with limited mobility may rely on keyboard navigation to move around a website, so it’s important for restaurants with online ordering options to consider this in their build.
Form Accessibility – Forms often rely on visual cues that are obvious to sighted users. However, users that rely on screen readers don’t have access to the same visual cues. Therefore, make sure navigational labels (name, address, credit card number) and prompts for forms are in the code.
Link Descriptions and Highlights – You’ll want to underline or appropriately describe your links to make it easy for users to understand the content, especially if they rely on screen reading technology. For example, instead of having a button that just says “CLICK HERE”, you could be more specific as to its function and label it “VIEW MENU”.
Color Contrast – Use a high contrast color for your website buttons to improve content visibility. High contrast web content benefits all users, not just those with color blindness or other visual imparities. If you’re not sure if your website meets the appropriate button color contrast ratio, you can use a contrast checker like the one provided by WebAIM.
Designing accessible websites not only helps businesses avoid ADA lawsuits, it also increases the number of happy customers. In short, online accessibility is good business.
Need help making your site accessible? Drop us a line.