Web Accessibility Solution for ADA and WCAG Compliance!
Today, by the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), every business website has to be accessible to people with disabilities. The Law prohibits discrimination based on disability by places of “public accommodation”, meaning websites or brick-and-mortar facilities.
People with disabilities, specifically those who are blind or visually impaired, have been filing lawsuits against businesses over website accessibility issues, and many of them were winning. From 2017 to 2018, the number of federal website accessibility lawsuits nearly tripled, from 814 to 2258, according to the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, which states that this figure is on track to be slightly higher this year.
Owing to this alarming shift, over the past few weeks, my team have been searching for different solutions. Until now the alternative solutions involved hiring a company or a web accessibility expert that would manually change the website’s code or install a web accessibility plugin. However, we were not satisfied with either of those solutions because they expensive, slow, and ineffective in the long run (manual) or they cannot achieve full compliance (plugins can reach approximately only 20% of the WCAG 2.1 recommendations).
Recently we found an automatic, simple, and affordable solution- an AI automatic system that can achieve full ADA compliance within 48 hours. The company that developed the system is accessiBe. After reviewing their system and testing it on our own website, we decided to offer the same solution to all of our clients. The yearly service price is $490 per domain.
All of those lawsuits involved visually impaired people trying to access the company's website. These lawsuits have all been filed under ADA Title III. This is the “public access” section of the ADA compliance. I am NOT a lawyer, however, we have been talking with industry experts, consultants, and companies that specialize in ensuring websites are fully ADA compliant.
Above I mentioned some large companies that have had issues with this. However, recently a small shoe store in Clearwater, FL was involved in a lawsuit. They are a Mom & Pop shop and this hits home for me… A small business trying to do everything they can to expand their business and make a little more by having a website gets hit with a lawsuit that could cost them $10-$20k. We really enjoy the small businesses that we get to work with and want to help assist you in being compliant.
In 2018 there were 10,163 federal cases RE: ADA & websites. In CA there were 4,249, that's a 54% increase in CA from 2017 to 2018. Source: https://www.adatitleiii.com/2019/01/number-of-ada-title-iii-lawsuits-filed-in-2018-tops-10000/
The Avanti Hotel in Palm Springs got hit with a lawsuit and the plaintiff is looking for $13k in damages. This $13k is in addition to the hotel making the needed changes to the website. The hotel's lawyer said that it would cost upwards of $25k in damages, plus lawyer fees if they fight the suit and lose.
As you are reading this I bet you are thinking “Why didn’t [your company name] build a website that is ADA compliant in the first place?”. Well, that’s a good question. We have implemented many elements that are required like Alt tag fields on images, tab navigation, skip to main content and other items. We do work to build in as many tools as we can, however, maintaining compliance means that every time the website is updated that it has to be checked again. Thus it's not a once and done type thing rather an ongoing element. We could build something compliant if the law never changed and nothing ever changed on your website. However, laws and guidelines change and websites need to be updated.
So… where does this leave us?
There are a few options:
● Do nothing… However, you could be at risk of a lawsuit and we DON'T recommend this!
● Take your website offline… But now you don’t have a business
● Hire an ADA compliance company like SiteImprove ($5k+/month) or AudioEye ($10k+/year)
● Use a “Free Plugin” service that only provides 20-50% coverage on compliance
● Use our solution
We have partnered with some AI & Accessibility experts to bring our clients a tool that can help provide a compliant solution. Although there will be a cost to this it's going to be a lot less than having to deal with the legal mess of a lawsuit or even one of the compliance companies that I noted above. We are working to keep the cost under $200/month (+setup fee).
Once we get everything on our end ready, do you want us to get this setup on your website?