ADA Compliance (Website Accessibility Standard)
The Website Accessibility Standard relates to the Americans for Disabilities Act or ADA and came about because as technology has changed more and more has moved to the web. That might be an individual interacting with government or that same individual interacting with a business. In the physical realm ADA standards have been in place for a long time, elements of the law have dictated that certain changes in how business has been done needed to change to accommodate people with disabilities. As those interactions have moved to the web, that ability of people with disabilities to get what they need has diminished. The Website Accessibility Standard seeks to ensure that as technology evolves people with disabilities are not left behind. While we at Crystal Clear are not lawyers and do not purport to give legal advise, we believe this standard applies to every business that provides a product or service to the public. Again that is our opinion and you as a business owner should consult with your lawyer to get a recommendation. Regardless of whether or not you and your lawyer determine if it does or does not apply to you, it certainly seem like the right thing to do. We at Crystal Clear want to provide a simple inexpensive way for all of us to do just that.
A small bit of insight into how we arrived to providing this service. In early 2019 we were approached by a client who had a friend with a private practice who was hit with a lawsuit that stated they were in violation of ADA Compliance (Website Accessibility Standard). They were rightfully concerned that they too might be hit with a similar lawsuit and asked us if there website was in compliance. As this was never a consideration for us and wasn’t actually implemented in 2013 when we started we never built our sites nor offered this as a service a client could pay extra to have us do, so I had to tell that client No. What it did though was spark a conversation between them and us on how this could be done and what the cost was. I went out and scoured the web to look for information about the topic and to find companies who might be providing this service. I spoke with 3 different companies who provided this as a service and learned a few very valuable bit of information.
The first being that this is an evolving standard, we should think of it like HIPAA. There are updates and changes that are made as technology changes. So it is tough to say that you are 100% compliant except at a certain date and time.
The second being that the market for this service is very new with very few providing this service. Which inevitably means high cost. How much you ask? Between $10,000 and $20,000 is what I was quoted, that included both a automated computer review followed by a couple rounds of manual review. The manual review is where much of the cost is. Each company said they had devices that disabled people would use, employ a disabled person or at least used the same device as a disabled person would to navigate the site checking for errors. All would give you a certificate saying that at a certain date and time you were found to be compliant to a version of the standard. One of the companies I spoke with even provided a $50,000 insurance liability policy in case you do get sued.
The third is vast majority of what makes up the compliance can be done using a program. Much can be accomplished with simply having some functionality added and a few tweaks done to bring you closer to compliance.
While we do not and don’t at this time are not considering buying a device a disabled person who use, we certainly can purchase programs that can help get us most of the way there. In essence this is our approach, to try and solve the easier parts of this and demonstrate that we have solutions that accommodate people who the ADA was meant to protect from losing out on the things we who are not take fro granted. Our solution is also very low cost comparably, and can be bought one time or as part of our annual maintenance fee to make sure at least one time a year we will review your site and bring it up to the newest standards.
If you have further questions please feel free to call our service line 866-847-6242 and someone will be glad to discuss any further details with you. I have some links below that relate to this topic and may shed some light on its importance.
Dominos Pizza Website Accessible Blind Supreme Court Lawsuit
Lawsuits targeting business websites over ADA violations are on the rise
Court Says Domino’s Pizza Website Must Be Accessible to the Blind