Accessibility

There is increasing news about law firms issuing demand letters threatening litigation to businesses whose website(s) are not “accessible”. This is because providing equal access to online services is required by law, even if at first this seemed only to apply to physical structures like ramps for wheelchairs. The list of companies who have lost in court or settled claims due to the inaccessibility of their digital/online services include Amazon, Reebok, Home Depot and long list of others both large and small. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act with the support of the courts defends those with disabilities to include the digital world we all live in. Regardless of the law, it is important for websites to be accessible to everyone, including users with disabilities. Over 13% of the US population have a disability that makes it difficult to participate in the digital world we all take for granted. (Source: https://disabilitycompendium.org).
You as a business owner are addressing less than 87% of your potential market!

So why do we put “accessibility” in quotes? First, because the Department of Justice has not defined in law what it means to be accessible in our digital world. Second, you may not know what an “accessible” website provides.

In the absence of a legally binding definition of being in compliance with the ADA, courts largely choose to go by The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. These guidelines provide a great framework to make your website more accessible to those with disabilities.

The main sections of WCAG include:

Perceivable:

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.

Operable:

  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
  • Help users navigate and find content.
  • Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard.

Understandable:

  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust:

  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Source: https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/

So what can you do to help avoid being the next recipient of a demand letter or lawsuit? In other
words, how do you get your website “more compliant” so you make it easier for those with
disabilities to use your site; and as a side benefit get the target off your back? We suggest the
following steps.

  1. Get an audit done of your site. We offer a complete evaluation of your website by testing against published guidelines and review every page’s web accessibility issues that need to be resolved.
    Request an Audit
  2. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you need added coverage to protect you from a claim.
  3. Select a company to help resolve accessibility issues with your website. We can make your site(s) more accessible.
    Contact us – let’s talk!.
  4. Develop an Accessibility Policy, Accessibility Notice and add these to your website. (If you hire us, we can include these in the work we do for you.)
  5. Develop a continuity plan to maintain the level of accessibility of your website.
    Contact us – let’s talk!.

We hope this helps you understand the need to make your website more accessible so you can increase your marketplace and are not the low hanging fruit when the lawyers come picking!

READ TIMIT ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

TIMIT Solutions

Greater Albany & NY
(518) 480-7164

Greater Boston & MA
(617) 286-6324

E-MAIL

[email protected]