The education industry is facing another challenge as the school year begins: a skyrocketing number of digital accessibility lawsuits. In July and the first week of August, we have tracked 35 federal lawsuits targeting the education industry filed in U.S. Federal District Court. To put that in perspective, there were just two federal lawsuits the entire first half of 2020. That’s a 1,750% increase, with new cases filed almost every day. If your institution doesn’t have a strong position on digital accessibility, there could be trouble ahead.
A lawsuit filed against Gimlet Media, a leading digital media company, recently garnered plenty of attention both within and beyond the website accessibility community. This lawsuit, among others, elevates the importance of digital accessibility being a core capability of any modern digital platform, especially as companies are required to comply with legislation such as Title III of the ADA and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.
While you might think that opting for a ready-made e-commerce platform like Shopify immediately liberates you from worrying about the accessibility of your website, that may not be the case. In fact, in speaking with Shopify users, we’ve identified five common misconceptions about digital accessibility requirements and how far you’re covered when you choose to work with an e-commerce provider.
If the issue of digital accessibility is on your radar, you may be closely following the now-infamous Domino’s digital accessibility case. If not, let’s get you up to speed…
Three years ago, Guillermo Robles, who is blind, filed suit against Domino’s claiming its website and mobile app are not accessible to those who rely on a screen reader to navigate online content. Robles claims inaccessible online content equates to a violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The United States Department of Justice has been reaching settlement agreements with all industry types. In 1999, the DOJ reached its first settlement agreement with Toledo, Ohio under their initiative Project Civic Access. With Project Civic Access, the DOJ has reached more than 200 settlement agreements with counties, cities, towns, and villages across the United States, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The following list outlines some (not all) of the many different web accessibility laws that have been enacted throughout the world. While some are more progressive than others and enforcement varies from region to region, more and more of the laws leverage the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a key measure for testing and validating websites for optimal accessibility and usability.