As I go into full swing recruiting nonprofits and web design teams to participate in OpenAIR2018, a lot of articles are coming my way about web accessibility - not just how it's a nice thing to do, but, in the eyes of many, the legal thing to do. This article offers details on four cases this year about companies being sued regarding lack of web accessibility.
Excerpt from the article on the Law Office of Lainey Feingold web site:
On June 13, in the first trial of its kind under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a federal judge in Florida ruled that Winn Dixie had to make its website accessible. Two days later, a California judge rejected Hobby Lobby‘s arguments that a web accessibility case brought by a blind customer should be thrown out of court.
In July, court action on web accessibility shifted to New York. On July 21 a judge in the Southern District of New York (a federal court) ruled that a web accessibility case against Five Guys restaurant chain could continue in court.
And on August 1, in perhaps the strongest support for web accessibility in the past several years, a federal judge in New York issued a blistering and passionate defense of web accessibility in refusing to throw out a web accessibility case against Blick Art Materials.
Yes, other web access cases have (and will continue) to have different results. But taken together, the four cases discussed here are more than a trend. They are a strong statement that even with federal web regs on “inactive” status, the ADA protects the rights of disabled people to visit, interact with, and benefit from all the web has to offer.
If you have a website, make it accessible so everyone can use it, including disabled people... These cases are but the most recent in a long-string of wake-up calls with a simple message: Spend your hard-earned dollars on accessibility, not on lawyers to fight it... Money is better spent on web developers, designers, user experience folks and others who can make the web (and mobile!) available to all.
By now most of us involved in making the web accessible to all know that the Republican administration has put potential web accessibility regulations on “inactive status.” Since the July 21 announcement I’ve been like a broken record on my LFLegal Twitter account: ADA regs are inactive, but the ADA still requires web accessibility.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
Another web site that touches on web design accessibility as a legal issue:
ADA lawsuits spark concerns over job website accessibility: Make sure candidates with a disability can utilize recruitment websites, which also highlights why accessible web design is a human rights issue.
I created a video to pitch OpenAIR, the hackathon by Knowbility that helps nonprofits, NGOs and charities get a new, accessible web site, and for the first time, I created closed captions. I used the YouTube tool to do it and was stunned at how easy it was. I'd never done it before, and other than one look at a "help" entry, did the whole thing by just clicking around. The automated speech-to-text got punctuation wrong, of course, and I had to go back and edit things like the name of the event and the URL for the event, but other than that - wow, it was super easy.
This would be a great task for an online volunteer - to get the videos on your website properly captioned. If you are looking for a great way to involve online volunteers and to get your site more welcoming for everyone, I highly recommend this task. Also, there are still 20 places available for nonprofits, NGOs and charities anywhere in the world to participate in OpenAIR. The sooner they sign up, the longer they have to get ready (with me) for the event, which begins on Feb. 1.
Thanks for this Jayne. I am no great fan of lawyers but in the UK we have had laws about website accessibility for years and they are almost never enforced, which does little or nothing to persuade people who ignore them to improve.
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