Restaurants and Digital ADA Guidelines: What You Need To Know

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Restaurants and Digital ADA Guidelines: What You Need To Know

From our partners at BentoBox, written by Parihan (Perry) Rahman-Porras (more info below)


Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990, businesses have learned of the importance of accessibility and being compliant to ADA law, so that all customers can physically access their goods and services. However, in the last few years, we’ve seen that businesses website also falls under ADA. 2018 saw a record number of website related ADA lawsuits filed against restaurants for failure to comply with this law.

It is imperative for restaurants to ensure their websites are digitally accessible. Digital accessibility is the ability for a website, mobile application or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by people with disabilities. In the absence of guidelines from the Department of Justice (DOJ), lawsuits have pointed to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 as the standard for digital accessibility. The WCAG guidelines, while helpful, can also bring forth questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions on ADA accessibility that we get here at BentoBox.

Is there a way to make my restaurant website 100% compliant?

Since the DOJ has yet to publish rules for how to comply with ADA guidelines for websites, it is not possible to be 100% compliant. However, most website-related ADA lawsuits point to WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Following these guidelines is a good start to making your website accessible.

Where should I begin to make my website adhere to WCAG guidelines?

Call your web developer and ask them what they are doing to adhere to ADA accessibility. Designing and developing websites in accordance to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines requires specialization and not all web developers build on certified accessible templates*.

Can I do anything to make customers aware that my restaurant is addressing digital accessibility?

Yes, you can make them aware by adding an accessibility statement to your website. Improving your website’s digital accessibility is an ongoing effort and it’s important to highlight that your team is taking action on it. We suggest working with your own legal counsel to craft this statement, but a simple Google search for “Accessibility Statement” returns many example formats. You can also see examples such as the Park Ave Accessibility Statement and Souvla Accessibility Statement.   

What are some changes I can make myself to improve my website’s accessibility? Below are three relatively easy tips to improve your website’s accessibility:

  1. Alternative text (alt-text) provides visually impaired users the ability to have important information read out loud to them via assistive technology. Add alt-text to images that convey information or are active (links, button, etc.). Alt-text is not needed for decorative images on your website. Your content management system (CMS) should provide a way for you to put in alt-text. If not, you should contact your web developer.
  2. All hyperlinks should describe the destination of the link. Instead of saying, “click here,” a better hyperlink would be, “view our menus.
  3. Convey information through text rather than text embedded in images or PDFs. Using text throughout your site allows people who use screen readers to access the content easily. If you have to use PDFs on your website they still need to be readable by screen readers. Click here for an overview on how to make a PDF accessible.

*BentoBox website templates are certified accessible by Accessible 360, a leading digital accessibility consultant that has performed and continues to provide ongoing audits of our platform.

Name: Parihan (Perry) Rahman-Porras

Email: perry@getbento.com

About: Parihan (Perry) Rahman-Porras is the Channel Strategy Manager at BentoBox. BentoBox builds dynamic and mobile-friendly websites for the hospitality industry on certified accessible templates.

perry-rahman-porras

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