Legal Requirements to Keep In Mind for Your Business Website
By Space Coast Daily // October 4, 2021
For many, web development and design may seem like it only deals with the functionality and aesthetic appearance of a website. However, it also has a lot to do with regulations, data collection and privacy, web accessibility, and more. The regulations may feel a bit overwhelming and challenging to manage. But they are the requirements you need to keep in mind.
These legal conditions go beyond minimizing the risk of lawsuits and other legal liability. They help create positive public relations with your web visitors and users to establish trust with your customers and clients. Enforcing a safe online environment also helps to improve customer experience.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
It’s a requirement for every business website to observe accessibility best practices in the design and content of the site. ADA demands equal treatment of all web users regardless of their physical, mental, and cognitive capabilities. Every visitor must have a way of accessing the information on your site.
ADA Section 508 Standards for website design stipulate that electronic and ICT must be available to people with disabilities. The law considers websites and places of public accommodation and so, treated like other public facilities in terms of accessibility. Notably, the number of ADA-related lawsuits has continued to rise. You should be keen on observing the regulations now more than ever.
Data Privacy and Collection
Data has in the recent past become a massive concern in all industries. It has also increasingly become a target of many cyberattacks. In the same way, data privacy has become a pretty controversial topic with the passing of data protection regulations in many countries across the globe.
Data Security Measures
Besides a website accessibility lawsuit, a data security lawsuit can also be pretty damaging to your business. The protection and security of the data collected by your website are on a different legal level than that of data privacy. In the US, legislation requires a business to notify customers of any security breaches that impact their personal information.
You need to be aware that you’ll be liable for security issues on your website even if you’re not collecting any information you deem confidential, personal, or collecting payments. Among the best ways to keep your liability down is by implementing website security protocols.
You can also invest in an SSL certificate and a secure web hosting platform. Regular website updates if your website is built on a content management system will also help patch security gaps.
Web Accessibility Design
Coming back to website accessibility, you need to seek advice from a web accessibility consultant to see which areas you need to improve. You can reduce the chances of lawsuits by implementing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG) as your standard for web accessibility elements.
Some essential features of the WCAG include the following:
■ Providing alternative text and captions for images and videos
■ Following color contrast guidelines
■Clean site structure, layout, functionality, and navigation
■ Keyboard only navigation
■ Accessible and clearly labeled forms, and understandable error reporting
■ Limiting animations, flashing colors, and autoplay
Your web content should also be accessible with assistive technology tools such as screen readers. These are only a few of the design aspects of an accessible website. Having an inaccessible website may be considered discriminatory and attract discrimination lawsuits.
Website development and design is no longer about a beautiful website but the functionality, structure, accessibility, privacy, copyright, data security, and many other regulations. You need to consult a professional even when you’re using CRS or building a DIY website.