People with a variety of auditory, visual, physical and/or cognitive disabilities use assistive technology (e.g., screen readers, text enlargement tools, programs to control computers by voice) to enable computer use. According to the U.S. Department of Justice the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to public-facing commercial websites; now is a good time for franchised dealerships to evaluate their websites for accessibility compliance.
If a dealership’s website is not compatible with assistive technologies, disabled customers may not be able to shop for vehicles, make online parts purchases or learn more about what the dealership offers them. Web accessibility also boosts a dealership’s search engine optimization efforts and improves organic search rankings. In addition to losing potential sales, dealerships risk facing legal action. To date, plaintiffs across the country have asserted that websites for businesses, including dealerships, do not provide equal access under the ADA for persons with disabilities. These dealerships have often settled to prevent expensive litigation, making a commitment to improve website accessibility.
Most public-facing dealership websites involve vehicle OEMS, website developers, vendors and other content providers; addressing dealership website accessibility is complex because each of these entities exerts control over, has responsibility for, manages and/or provides content to dealership websites.
More information from NADA: