There has been a wave of restaurant lawsuits lately.
These lawsuits involve how people with disabilities including color blindness, deafness, dyslexia and vision impairment experience your website.
If your website doesn’t follow the necessary guidelines to improve your website’s experience for the disabled, you could get in trouble legally.
Today I am going to show you some things you can do to prevent your restaurant from receiving a lawsuit for your restaurant’s website accessibility experience.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and cannot give you legal advice. I am giving you my experience and solution when working with restaurant clients who have received lawsuits.
Check Your Website For Accessibility Issues
If you use Google Chrome, you can use an extension that will scan your website for any accessibility issues. It’s important to at least be aware if your website has accessibility issues or not.
The tool that I use to scan for accessibility issues is the WAVE Evaluation Tool. If you are using Google Chrome, go ahead and install it.
Once you do, you will see that a new icon will appear on the top right of your Chrome browser:
Look for the W as shown above. When you are on your own website, click on it.
When you click on it, a left sidebar will appear with details that the tool sees could cause accessibility issues for your website. It will also show you where on the website they see the issue.
You can go through each of your web pages to see what other issues you may have.
Again, it’s great to have this tool just to know what risks you might have on your website. Now, I am going to show you what I did to prevent website accessibility lawsuits for my restaurant websites.
Install An Accessibility Widget
How do you cater to the needs of different people with different disabilities?
You want to install this accessibility widget by Userway. When you do, you will give your website visitors the ability to adjust the look of your website for their specific needs.
Your website visitors will see the small circle on any corner of your website, which will then open up the menu that you see with the Keyboard Nav, Read Page, etc options.
With this tool, website visitors with vision imparities can adjust contrast, brightness and saturation. They can also increase text size.
Visitors unable to use a mouse can use the Keyboard nav to navigate your website.
This widget is a free and great way to cater to all people with disabilities who are visiting your website.
To install this widget, first to go userway.org.
They have widgets that you can install on most major website platforms. Here are the website platforms that they generate accessibility widgets for at the time of this post:
This list is on the bottom of their website and you can click on any of them to get straight into creating your widget.
Here are the general instructions for creating an accessibility widget on any website:
As soon as you land on the site, click on Get the Widget.
Once you do, you’ll go straight into a survey of questions that are only there to help you install your widget correctly.
Put in your website URL. Read their terms and make sure you agree to them, then click next.
Then enter your name and email address.
Now you can choose the style of the widget. I chose the default because I see most websites using the default one. And because its more widely used, it would be easier for my website visitors to recognize it.
Then you can choose the size of the widget. I chose the larger one so its more noticeable.
Now you can choose the color. I chose Kura’s brand color which is a shade of red:
Next you can choose where you want the widget to show on your website. You have 8 options including each corner and the center of each side of your website.
Now you can choose the language of your widget. I always choose Auto Detect to adjust to the visitor’s language they normally use in their browser.
They are going to ask you if you have an accessibility statement. I always choose I don’t know even if I know the website already has one.
Lastly, they will ask you if you want to brand your widget for $10. I’ve never taken them up on this offer. The ability to brand the widget looks cool, but honestly I don’t think it’s needed.
Now that you’ve chosen your widget look and placement, they are going to give you a piece of code to paste onto your website. If you know how to insert code on your website, you can copy and paste the code in. If you normally have a developer do this for you, contact them for help.
After you paste the code in your site, you can click on Let’s Verify to make sure it worked, or you can go to your website and see if the widget shows in the corner that you chose.
I chose my widget to go on the bottom right hand corner so it looks like this:
That’s one way you can increase accessibility for your website and really neutralize additional chances that a lawsuit is served to you.
After you click on Let’s Verify, Userway also helps you generate an accessibility statement, which is something you will need to post on your website. Click on next to see the accessibility statement they generated for you.
You can view the accessibility statement as HTMl or Clean Text. Before you use it, its best to consult with your web developer and lawyer on what exactly your accessibility statement needs to say.
One thing I do know is that having an accessibility statement with your contact information is better than having none at all.
In case this accessibility statement doesn’t meet your needs, there’s another more official accessibility statement generator that I like to use.
Generate An Official Accessibility Statement
For generating an official accessibility statement I went to w3.org. They have official documentation on web content guidelines for accessibility. So essentially, I felt like I was going to the most official place to generate an accessibility statement.
As you scroll down, you will see a questionnaire very similar to the questionnaire that userway.org gave you.
Fill out the form to the best of your knowledge. Here are some areas that I didn’t know how to answer but thought would keep my statement general enough to fulfill the need of an accessibility statement:
Everything else such as business name, email and contact info was very straightforward. I didn’t add any other information anywhere else.
Afterwards, I clicked on Preview your accessibility statement.
Then I copied and pasted all the text in the red box onto my website accessibility page:
Which turned out to look like this:
I think that as long as you have your contact info, someone can contact you to fix your website instead of serving you a lawsuit.
Have you taken all of the steps above to protect your website and your restaurant business from website accessibility lawsuits?
Comment below with something you may have missed.