Head Off Potential Legal Challenges: One Company’s Journey to ADA Compliance
An estimated 25 percent of adults in the United States are living with disabilities, and government organizations are mandated under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that their online content is accessible to this large and growing population. For commercial organizations, the picture is less clear. Strictly speaking, Title III of the ADA mandates accessibility in the physical world but not the virtual world.
An estimated 25 percent of adults in the United States are living with disabilities, and government organizations are mandated under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that their online content is accessible to this large and growing population. For commercial organizations, the picture is less clear. Strictly speaking, Title III of the ADA mandates accessibility in the physical world but not the virtual world. However, there is a growing precedent for commercial organizations to be sued—in many cases successfully—for ADA violations in their online presence. The number of digital accessibility lawsuits filed under ADA Title III in US Federal District Courts jumped from 815 in 2017 to more than 2,200 in 2019, and this fast rise in litigation looks set to continue.
One leading consumer electronics company realized that prompt action on accessibility was crucial to head off potential legal challenges. The company knew it needed to bring its online properties into compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), but getting to the target state posed some tough challenges.
Considering the options
For one, the company’s products—and therefore its websites—are continually changing. To ensure compliance, the enterprise considered training its digital marketing team to develop and maintain company-wide standards and best practices for accessibility. However, as well as consuming significant amounts of time and budget, this approach would have limited its ability to launch new sites in a fast, agile way.
Another possible path to compliance was to engage an external consultant to audit the websites and advise the internal team on the necessary updates and how to apply them. Although this option avoided the need to develop the competencies in-house, it exposed the company to the risk of unknown recurring costs whenever it launched or made a significant change to a site.
Embracing a managed service
The electronics company decided that a fully managed solution, delivered by an expert third-party vendor, was the optimal way to achieve compliance with the WCAG. Only one provider offered to take full responsibility for delivering accessibility compliance from day one: AudioEye.
Unlike other vendors the company considered, we at AudioEye didn’t propose to scan its sites for superficial issues and then upsell costly consulting resources. Instead, we offered a highly automated, end-to-end approach to detecting, cataloging and remediating accessibility issues. Uniquely, we gave the client access to a team of legal experts and to a library of legal documentation, helping them to deflect litigation during the period that we were working to bring their website into full conformance.
Backed by our team of subject-matter experts, AudioEye ensures that any issues that can’t be fixed automatically are fixed by hand, in full compliance with legal requirements and conformance with WCAG standards.
Ready for the future
Today, the company has the peace of mind that its digital properties are fully compliant with the requirements of the ADA, even as the standards and best practices evolve over time. Crucially, the company is free to promote its products and services by launching new sites in a fast, agile way—helping it to sharpen its competitive edge in its U.S. markets. The electronics company also offers our AudioEye Accessibility Toolbar to every online visitor—enabling users to personalize their experience with dyslexia-friendly fonts, narration, keyboard-friendly navigation and more.
If you’re ready to stop worrying about legal challenges and re-focus on your core competencies, AudioEye has ADA compliance solutions that can get you back on solid ground—fast. To learn more about how this leading electronics company achieved just that, read our case study "Reducing ADA compliance risk rapidly and cost-effectively." Or if you’re ready to start your compliance journey, reach out to an AudioEye expert today.