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Like many other states, web accessibility is an issue in Texas.
Texas has its own statute in place in addition to the ADA. Chapter 121 of the Texas Human Resources Code covers the protection of the rights of disabled people.
Thus, if you own a website or sell to Texas residents, it’s crucial to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone. To do this, you have to follow the WCAG guidelines at level 2.1.
The legal battle against ADA non-compliance has taken an especially sharp turn in Texas.
There has been a noticeable increase in ADA accessibility lawsuits, enforcement actions, and demand letters targeting Texas businesses over the past few years.
In 2018, the state recorded 196 ADA non-compliance cases, which eventually increased to 239 in 2019. This is a 21.9% increase, and many other states have experienced similar or even larger increases in ADA non-compliance litigation.
In 2020, Texas received 285 non-compliance cases, making it the fourth state with the most accessibility-related cases.
Website accessibility is mandatory in Texas, and different laws and statutes cover this aspect. For instance, Texas has adopted federal accessibility policies.
According to the Texas Administrative Code, websites must comply with the Federal Government’s Section 508 of 2016. Additionally, the state also requires websites to follow WCAG guidelines.
On the other hand, the WCAG consists of about 13 guidelines that websites should adhere to. These guidelines are based on four principles, which are operable, perceivable, understandable, and robust.
Websites can achieve one of three WCAG certification levels: A, AA, and AAA.
Texas also emphasizes that government agencies and educational institutes more than any other industry or business should follow accessibility guidelines. For this reason, the Texas administrative code (TAC) has sections 206.70, 213.21, and 213.41, all related to website accessibility.
Section 206.70 of the TAC was implemented in April 2020. This requires higher education websites and web applications to comply with WCAG 2.0 level AA (excluding guideline 1.2).
It also states that higher education institutions must provide captioning and alternative forms of accommodation for videos.
Additionally, it requires alternative content that complies with the same section if higher education institutions can’t meet EIR compliance. Higher educational institutions are also mandated to check for EIR accessibility through EIR validation tools.
Sections 213.21 and 213.41 both provide accessibility guidelines for websites. The only difference is where they’re concerned.
Section 213.21 is for state agencies, while section 213.41 is for higher educational institutions. Both sections require these entities to publish their accessibility policies.
These policies should comply with the standards and specifications of the TAC chapter 213, including their web accessibility statement.
Additionally, these sections require agencies and institutions to assign an EIR accessibility coordinator to facilitate EIR accessibility compliance.
Most of these sites also have an accessibility officer you can contact if you have issues accessing the website.
Texas takes website accessibility seriously and makes an effort to aid government agencies, educational institutions, and other private businesses with the process.
The Department of Information Resources has developed a useful guide containing all the resources that entities need to make their websites compliant.
For example, the DIR provides tools for website development such as aDesigner, Webaim.org, and the US Web Design Standards V2.0 . There are also resources for forms, HTML, and multimedia.
Aside from these, there are other ways to attain accessibility. These include the following:
Modifying your website’s design is one of the easiest ways to achieve ADA compliance. For instance, non-text content, like images and videos, should have alternative text.
Users should also be able to adjust font sizes, and CTA buttons should have large font sizes.
Your website can be more accessible if you provide users with content moderation functionality. For example, your site can provide 24/7 assistance to users.
The site should also provide suggestions for when users receive input errors.
Aside from text, you should also consider that color and contrast affect your website’s accessibility. Opt for a high contrast background when designing your web pages so that they stand out.
We also don’t recommend using thin fonts or Java or CSS features to change your site’s contrast. Additionally, keep in mind that color contrast is crucial when it comes to CTA buttons.
Another way to attain web accessibility more easily is to use plugins, widgets, and other resources from credible platforms. You can use these tools to maintain an accessible website without spending too much money: accessiBe, Userway, Equalweb
accessiBe is an AI-powered, fully automated web accessibility solution that makes web accessibility effortless and affordable, empowering every business to achieve ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliance within 48 hours.
This discussion shows that the overall scenario of ADA compliance in Texas is not as bad as in other states like California and New York.
There was a rise in lawsuits from 2018 to 2019, but it slowed down in 2020. This doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk of ADA lawsuits though.
Aside from that, making modifications to your website makes it accessible to everyone and it broadens your customer base.
Get a comprehensive accessibility audit of your website at Accessibility Checker.
If you found this article helpful, you can also read our articles on website ADA compliance.
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