Complete I.T. has successfully entered into the world of HOA & CDD website development by offering our Managed Website Services with a twist.
When George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination in “any place of public accommodation,” the internet barely existed. While, initially, people with physical handicaps sued restaurants, hotels and other businesses to force them to install wheelchair ramps and make other similar accommodations, a new trend has emerged.
Now, businesses are being sued under the ADA based on claims that their websites are places of public accommodation, and are not fully accessible to people with various impairments. Often, these lawsuits center on the fact that, although a visually impaired person can use a “screen-reader” to convert text on a website to audio, if there is no subtitle to a picture or image, such a user would have no way of knowing that a picture or image exists, let alone what it might be.
How can a website be a “place of public accommodation” if it isn’t a “place?” Well, the first dominos in a chain that led to such a result came in the form of rulings like the one in the 1994 case of Carparts Distribution Center v. Automobile Wholesaler’s Association of New England. In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that, “It would be irrational to conclude that persons who enter an office to purchase services are protected by the ADA, but persons who purchase the same services over the telephone or by mail are not. Congress could not have intended such an absurd result.”
In some jurisdictions, courts tried to limit situations where a website could be deemed to be a place of public accommodation. In the 2000 case of Weyer v. Twentieth Century Fox Film, for instance, the Ninth Circuit held that, “The principle of noscitur a sociis requires that the term, ‘place of public accommodation,’ be interpreted within the context of the accompanying words, and this context suggests that some connection between the good or service complained of and an actual physical place is required.” As a result, the Northern District of California ruled in National Federation of the Blind v. Target that the website for Target Stores only was a place of public accommodation “to the extent … that the inaccessibility of Target.com impedes the full and equal enjoyment of goods and services offered in Target stores …”
Other jurisdictions, like the District of Massachusetts, have since blown the doors wide open on whether a website can be a place of public accommodation. In National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix, (D. Mass. 2012), a suit brought on behalf of deaf and hearing impaired individuals, the district court judge noted that the ADA lists 12 venues that qualify as places of public accommodation, including a “place of exhibition and entertainment,” a “sales or rental establishment” and a “service establishment.” The judge then found that even though Netflix wasn’t an actual place, it functioned as a place of exhibition and entertainment, a sales or rental establishment and a service establishment. Thus, the judge ultimately concluded that Netflix’s website was a place of public accommodation.
While WCAG 2.0 has three levels of compliance (A, AA and AAA), it generally appears that if a website complies with Level AA, courts will find that to be enough to be complaint with the ADA. Unfortunately, this recently got even more complicated because W3C adopted WCAG 2.1 criteria this past June. Because WCAG 2.1 is so new—and because W3C is not a legislative body—it is anyone’s guess whether the 2.1 criteria will set a new base-line standard. See beginners guide to ADA on Search Engine Journal.
So you may ask, what has Complete I.T. done to combat the growing pains of building a website around the new ADA compliance? Built on the WordPress platform, Complete I.T. has created a WordPress Theme that we feel is a great starting point. Why would we consider this a “Starting Point”?
Remember when websites were not mobile responsive? Remember how long it took for everyone to switch to a mobile responsive website? Yep, you are probably saying to yourself that you have visited at least one website in the past month that is still not mobile responsive. Just like mobile responsive, ADA websites will take a while to fully grasp the capabilities of great website design, with ADA compliance. Personally opinion, I don’t think any website is truly 100% compliant for any extended amount of time because the WCAG will be updating there standards on an ongoing basis from this point forward.
What road has Complete I.T. driven down in order to move closer to a CDD & HOA compliant website?
- Keyboard navigation
- Aria Labels
- Minimum 4.5:1 color contrast ratio
- WCAG 2 level AA requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text, and a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 for graphics
- White glove website treatment
- Secure website server hosting
At Complete I.T., we are dedicated to our clients, and want to provide the simplest solution for the CDD and HOA board members. For starters, our client websites are hosted at a U.S. based server facility. The website is secured using the #1 firewall on the market. if malicious code is injected into the website, the community is not responsible for any additional fees to clean up said injection hack. When the board needs to add PDFs for the upcoming or past meetings, simple log into the website and submit the document in a customized dashboard. Each board member that requires access to submit documents are provided individual login credentials enabling a secure document submission or edit request. If the community wants text changes made to the website, all that is required is to submit them using the customized dashboard and Complete I.T. does the rest because it is included in the price!
What’s included in the price? $189 per month
- Security firewall
- Text edits
- PDF documentation insertion to the website
- Meeting date changes
Are you in need of an email system that is compliant under Florida’s archive audit statue? Complete I.T. also offers email services at a standard rate of $14.95 per user per month as of 3/19/19.
Sign up for Email and Managed Website services, and save big. $450 setup fee for both the email setup and transfer from the old email server, and setup of the new website including document and content transfer to the new server. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn how you can save money, and start down the road to being compliant in the future. Contact us today.