Don’t Feed the Trolls
Internet “trolls” appear to be targeting small business websites, and filing lawsuits against companies whose websites are not accessible to a person with a disability. Although we welcome the increased attention to the disabled’s difficulties, we deplore the behavior of the “trolls” who seem to be interested in their own personal gain. The number of lawsuits filed against businesses have increased each year. The attorneys fees, court costs and fines are in the high thousands of dollars.
Web Accessibility is not new. The first Accessibility case was filed in 2000 in Australia against the Sydney Olympic Games official website when a home viewer, a blind man, wanted to follow the Olympics on his computer and discovered his access was limited due to the way the site was designed. The legal ruling set a precedent that creating a website intended for use by and to inform the general public, where such a website is more accessible to a sighted user than the same intent and information is not available for a user who is blind by virtue of disability. They are therefore being discriminated against by lack of provision, and the creator of the website is in breach of the law.
Since 2000, thousands of cases have been brought against businesses of all sizes for lack of Accessibility, yet many continue to ignore it. In 2016 there were 262 legal cases filed – fast forward to 2019 when the number rose to 2235. Unfortunately, too many web designers continually misinform their client’s that Accessibility is not necessary thereby putting their clients int he crosshairs of the trolls. As the Courts continue to rule in favor of the Plaintiff, more businesses will find themselves facing a costly discrimination lawsuit.
It’s not about making a website and then changing it to accommodate only one segment of people. It’s about creating an inclusive designed website, or remediating a website, that is accessible to everyone. What is a necessity for some is a benefit for all. There is a curb-cut effect with an Accessible website.You might remember a time when curbs were all one height. Because of the actions of dedicated disability advocates, we now have curbs with a cut in them to make it easier for persons in wheelchairs to cross the street, enter and exit businesses and buildings. However, you also see these same cuts used by people pushing shopping carts, dragging their luggage or pushing a baby stroller. A remediation for one segment of the population has shown to be a benefit to everyone.
By having an accessible website, businesses may experience a larger market reach. When users can access your website, they can buy from you, retain your services and refer to you. Some of the features that make a well designed website Accessible to persons with disabilities, also boost SEO and mobile responsiveness.
DON’T BE A TARGET FOR A TROLL
The best way to starve a troll is to remove their food source.
The best way to remove the trolls food source is to have websites that are Accessible.
The best way to have an Accessible website is to start in the design stage, the next best way is to remediate from where you are now and then move forward with the proper steps to keep it Accessible.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?
We recommend that you first need to know the status of your website and have, at minimum, a basic understanding of what is wrong and what needs to be fixed. Below you will find a link to an automated scan tool so you can see the errors on your site for yourself. If you would like an explanation of the results you find or a more complete analysis of your website, call us for a free consultation 800-569-8279.
To learn more about Accessibility, we offer presentations, webinars and public events for businesses and web designers.
We offer a FREE Web Accessibility Audit. It’s important that you know the status of your website.
ONCE YOU SEE WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED, THE NEXT STEP IS TO REMEDIATE YOUR SITE.
Many of the legal cases are being filed under a few anti-discrimination laws,one of which is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Since we are not attorneys, and the ADA is a law, we are not in a position to advise you on any area of the law. So, we will not offer to make your website ADA compliant. We are specialists in Web Accessibility. We design and remediate to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which are also referenced in several Court cases as the potential solution to follow to meet Accessibility compliance.
Before signing on with someone who promises you ADA compliance for your website, a disability rights attorney suggested you ask the following two questions:
1.) Exactly what is ADA compliance for a website?
2.) How are you qualified to advise me on this law?
Most business owners only ask about the price of a website. We recommend you ask more questions to get a better understanding before making a decision.
1.) What is Web Accessibility?
2.) What is wrong with my website now?
3.) What is Assistive Technology and how does it work or not work with my website? Can you show me?
4.) What is WCAG and what does it mean?
5.) How exactly are you going to implement or deliver what you are offering as a fix?
6.) Is there a way my website is tested and can you show me those results – before and after? Are these automated tests or real-people using assistive technology doing the tests?
7.) How long will this take? How long will it last?
8.) What documentation of your efforts will you be providing me?
9.) Will you give me a guarantee?
10.) What is the cost?
The answers to these questions can make the difference in whether you get the results you need and deserve.
YEARS OF COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION TO INCLUSIVE DESIGN
We have been educating on Web Accessibility for the past 5 years. Our specialty in Web Accessibility includes gaining education from the leaders in Web Accessibility field, testing and remediating websites, speaking with attorneys who are involved in legal cases pertaining to Accessibility, speaking to businesses about the VALUE of an Accessible website, presenting at small business events and at web designer education events. We consult with other designers to make their clients websites better. We educate and train do-it-yourselfers with hands-on workshops on Accessibility.
We are available for presentations, custom workshops and consulting on Web Accessibility. The more we work together, the more Accessible the web will be for all. Accessibility is necessary for some and a benefit to all.
Automated Scan Tools:
For your own understanding, there are a few automated tools that can scan your website and give you a visual of potential errors. Automated scan tools will tell you that they are not always 100% and sometimes return false positives. No automated tool can provide a guaranteed results, however, it is a good place for you to start.
We have no affiliation with the following company or their tool, however, we have found it to be one of the most useful and the results are easy to understand. WAVE is a web accessibility evaluation tool developed by WebAIM.org. Go to their page and put your URL in the “Web page address” field.
This automated too will NOT identify ALL the errors in your site. It’s a good start, but not all that you need. We use a few different automated tools, as well as native user testing for a deep analysis of your website. Simply dusting the surface is not sufficient for compliance with Accessibility.