Is ADA compliance mandatory for websites?
It was clear from the beginning that ADA affected every kind of business in the physical realm, but it’s less obvious that it covers websites and online spaces. The 1990 bill obviously did not predict today’s huge breadth of internet use. The past decade brought a range of rulings from the U.S. courts, with some insistingNew Window that websites do not qualify as a "public place of accommodation."However, as the internet became more important and websites played a bigger role in the way that consumers interact with businesses, the way that ADA is applied to web accessibility began to change.New Window Since 2017, a clear consensus emerged that ADA also covers the online world. Disability rights activists,New Window
legal scholars,New Window and court rulings have agreed that websites, internet portals, and online stores also need to be accessible for people with disabilities. In September 2018, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote an official letter to members of Congress that said “The Department first articulated its interpretation that the ADA applies to public accommodations' websites over 20 years ago. This interpretation is consistent with the ADA's...requirement that the goods, services, privileges, or activities provided by places of public accommodation be equally accessible to people with disabilities." Today, U.S. courts apply ADA accessibility requirements to the online domain, which means that websites should comply with ADA rules.