AudioEye's Webinar: Celebrating the 33rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 2023.
Q: For Charles Hiser, how has the ADA impacted your life?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act opened the door for me to receive a quality education. Public education is one of the categories protected under ADA Title II, codifying discrimination against a person with a disability in relation to a government-provided service as a crime. When an administrator from the previous era of teaching attempted to bar me from advanced education as a young child, I was fortunate enough to have a parent who fought for equal treatment. If that advocate had not been in my corner, I would have been in a special education classroom for much of my schooling, in an environment whose design accounts for challenges I did not have. The ADA, as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were instrumental in the arguments that eventually saw me given the same opportunities as a non-disabled peer. Without that education, I would not be the person I am today. — Charles Hiser
Q: For Tony Coelho, I live in Michigan [and I'm a] quadriplegic business owner. I have been trying to get certified as a disability-owned business. This has been ongoing for several years. I've met with many organizations including SBA and nobody in Michigan knows where to get the certification. My question would be where can I get certification in the state of Michigan as a person with the disability business owner.
A: I understand your frustration. To get certified as a disability-owned business in the state of Michigan, the process typically involves working with specific organizations or agencies that provide such certifications. One of the main entities responsible for certifying disability-owned businesses is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). However, it seems you've already tried contacting them without success. In this situation, I recommend reaching out to the Great Lakes Business Network (GLBN), as they might be able to assist you in the certification process. GLBN is a regional organization that focuses on supporting diverse businesses, including those owned by individuals with disabilities. Additionally, you can explore the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to inquire about disability-owned business certification programs. They may provide valuable information or point you in the right direction. Remember, persistence is key when navigating through bureaucratic processes, especially when it comes to certifications and approvals. Keep following up with relevant organizations, and don't hesitate to seek assistance from local disability support groups or business associations. — Tony Coelho
Q: For Tony Coelho, is there a way to convince Congress to look past the budget office estimates and make it imperative that all companies use accessibility best practices?
A: To convince Congress to prioritize accessibility best practices over budget office estimates, we must educate them on the positive impact of inclusion for people with disabilities and the broader society. Data showcasing the economic benefits and legal obligations under the ADA should be emphasized. Engaging with disability advocacy groups, promoting inclusive businesses, and building coalitions will strengthen our message, urging Congress to take decisive action for a more accessible and equitable future. — Tony Coelho
Q: Does the Unruh Act apply to my business if I have customers in California?
A: Yes, the Unruh Civil Rights Act applies to your business if you have customers in California. The Act prohibits discrimination based on various protected characteristics, including disability, in places of public accommodation. Therefore, if your business is open to the public and serves customers in California, it must comply with the Unruh Act's provisions to ensure equal access and non-discrimination for all individuals.
Q: How do I get started with being an accessibility advocate?
A: If you are a person with a disability who wants to be an accessibility advocate at AudioEye, we invite you to join AudioEye's A11iance Community as an accessibility tester. This community is composed of individuals with diverse disabilities and backgrounds, including low-and-no vision users, people with cerebral palsy, keyboard-only users, those with limited mobility, and colorblind users. Whether you are an experienced tester or new to the process, AudioEye welcomes all who wish to join.
If you want to advocate for people with disabilities as an ally, we encourage you to begin by remembering that accessibility is a journey not a fixed destination. Educate yourself about various disabilities and the barriers they face to gain a deeper understanding of their unique needs. Engaging with the disability community is vital to understand their experiences and perspectives firsthand. You can also contribute to the cause by raising awareness through social media, writing, and presentations, shedding light on key accessibility issues. Collaborate with other advocates to amplify your efforts and collaborate with policymakers for policy change that fosters inclusion. Embrace inclusive design practices, leading by example in creating accessible content and experiences. Stay updated with the latest developments in disability rights to remain effective in your advocacy. Patience, persistence, and unwavering commitment are essential in your pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable world for all individuals with disabilities.
Q: How good/reliable are the programs you run on a website to check for ADA compliance?
A: AudioEye utilizes the most comprehensive suite of automated tests and fixes on the market, developed with direct input from the disability community. We provide technical innovation such as AI to automate processes paired with certified experts to deliver flexible solutions for companies. This includes implementing scalable fixes directly into their code-base—and we stand behind our solution, 100%. AudioEye has the largest data set on accessibility issues and needs with over 1 billion tests run and fixes applied daily across more than a million web pages that are actively monitored, accelerating our ability to improve our tools and services. We are trusted by over 105,000 brands to manage their accessibility, including some of the largest companies like Samsung, Calvin Klein, Roblox, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Q: Legally, [what] are [the] ramifications if a website isn’t ADA compliant?
A: Typically, the legal ramifications of a website not being ADA compliant are a demand letter, legal fees, or lawsuit. AudioEye offers an industry-best payout and guarantee called AudioEye Assurance that provides coverage for your website. If you receive a demand letter or lawsuit as a customer with AudioEye Assurance, our team of legal experts will analyze claims for validity and assist you in responding line-by-line to your demand letter or legal request. Should a legitimate issue result in legal cost, we provide real coverage for each page we guarantee. We apply custom fixes to any new issues found during audits, and share results so you can show consistent progress toward accessibility.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a company to make your website ADA compliant and how thorough are they?
A: We know the right accessibility solution isn’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why, for the past 16 years, we’ve worked with companies to prioritize digital accessibility based on their unique situations. Our most basic plan begins with automation which offers continuous monitoring, automated fixes, portal access for reports, online help desk, and the Visual Toolkit. Our most comprehensive offering combines our Managed and Self-Managed features for maximum flexibility and peace of mind and includes developer tools, accessibility consulting, source fix guidance, and custom training which allows us to deliver accessibility fixes for you.
The cost to hire a company to manually test and apply custom fixes to make your website ADA compliant depends on a variety of factors, such as the types of content on the site and the degree to which pages are templated. We aren’t able to provide a price until we understand the scope of work involved (for example, how many web pages or page templates need to be manually tested and fixed by our team). The investment on your end also depends upon the level of service you desire. For example, some customers simply want manual testing so they can fix issues at the source code level themselves while others want AudioEye’s developers to create custom coded fixes for them. AudioEye comprehensively tests and fixes accessibility issues on the pages you choose to include in scope and applies those fixes across templated pages and components on your site—the more pages in scope the more your site benefits.
You can book a demo with one of our Account Executive to discuss your unique needs. Once we have an idea of the scope of work and the service level you need, we’ll be able to provide a quote. AudioEye customers are 4x less likely to receive a valid legal claim caused by accessibility errors compared to businesses that are not using a digital accessibility solution. AudioEye is your partner, delivering flexible, customizable accessibility solutions that scale. You can learn more from our white paper, Building for Digital Accessibility at Scale.
Q: As a small business web developer I spell out in our contracts that our company isn’t liable if our client is sued for not being ADA compliant. Even though our company isn’t big enough to offer this service I would like to have options to offer our clients how they can become ADA compliant. Can you speak to the options businesses have?