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HTML Accessibility For Web Developers Introduction To Accessibility Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Adam Fournace
Adam Fournace
3,086 Points

We can be sued if our small website doesn't have every feature? Why can't people go to a different business?

If a large company gets sued for accessibility then anyone can also sue a small startup that hasn't gotten big enough to implement those features yet. These are dangerous precedents in my opinion. Only the large companies will be able to withstand these red taped regulations. It is not right to expect a small company with a net worth of $150,000 to implement the same features as a 150 Billion dollar company. Seems like a setup to destroy small businesses with a cloak of "caring for people".

What are your opinions on this subject?

3 Answers

rydavim
rydavim
18,765 Points

I'm going to start with an obligatory I am not a lawyer disclaimer. I also have not been through the course you have linked to. However...

My understanding is that currently in the USA there are no enforceable legal standards for website accessibility except for entities falling under Section 508 - federal, state, and local government websites. That's not to say you could never face litigation, but most cases would likely be in your favor. This is under federal regulations only - state and local laws may expand protections.

If you are a small public or private business that is unaffiliated with any government entity, there is a good chance you are not legally required to fulfill any ADA standards. However, I would say that accessibility should be a component of development. While there may be no legal requirement now, that's not to say there won't be in the future.

There is a pretty thorough article from 2019 here on the topic, and it includes several other external references as well. I would recommend it if you're looking for a more complete overview of the legal side of things.

Anwar Montasir
seal-mask
STAFF
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree
Anwar Montasir
Treehouse Teacher

Hi Adam,

I would also add that a majority of the techniques covered here don't actually cost any money to implement, whether using semantic HTML properly, providing sufficient color contrast, or using descriptive link text.

And achieving WCAG AA Accessibility is certainly something a small business can brag about, as something that not only makes your content available to a wider audience, but distinguishes you from any competition that has an inaccessible product.

Plus, you'll find that most of these improvements have additional benefits to your business as well. For example, a website with proper semantic markup and good alternative text for images will have better SEO than one that doesn't.

Adam Fournace
Adam Fournace
3,086 Points

Thank you for answering my question and posting a link to some resources.