Website Accessibility Helps You and Your Visitor

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2020 marketing and communications plans are underway for brands and companies around the globe. How will we make a splash? Where are the biggest opportunities? These are great questions, but there’s one that really needs to be asked: Is your website accessible?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of the US population has some form of disability. That’s a sizable market with discretionary funds, as well as a community of people who should not be marginalized. Unfortunately, for those living with a disability, many online businesses still prove too difficult to successfully navigate—and some are learning that lesson too late.

The law firm Seyfarth Shaw says accessibility lawsuits in federal court jumped from 814 in 2017 to 2,258 in 2018. And 2019 is projected to see 2,408 suits, led by New York state, which remains the most active in this area!

Accessibility Lawsuits
Accessibility lawsuits in federal court jumped by 177% in 2018.

What do you need to know?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community of developers and professionals who developed Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which have gone a long way toward providing a tangible list of criteria for judging website accessibility. 

WCAG provides three levels of conformance: A, AA and AAA. Single A is the lowest bar, while AAA sites are the most accessible. 

Talk with your leadership and legal teams to confirm which level of compliance your company is going to meet and commit to for the sake of your customers. As a point of reference, though, most court rulings have settled on Level AA as a reasonable effort for an accessible user experience.

It’s also important to ensure the company is committed to this work. Ensuring compliance goes beyond launching an accessible site. Ongoing maintenance must make sure any edits remain in compliance, that digital documents like PDFs are also accessible, and that the company has provided a feedback loop for users to report any issues they’ve experienced and suggestions for how to resolve them. All of this can be covered in an accessibility statement posted on the site.

If you’re unsure whether your site is accessible or how much effort it will take to make it accessible, let us know. We’re here to help our clients make educated decisions and grow sales to all audiences. 

Disclaimer: Dixon Schwabl cannot provide legal advice to direct clients how to handle this type of work. Each client must make the decision for themselves, confirming with their legal team’s risk analysis to determine the level they’re comfortable complying with.

Known around the office as Rog” or The Rog,” this Boston sports fan is constantly smiling due to the annoying fact that it seems like those teams never lose.

Roger Haskins
Digital Strategy Supervisor

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