Dangers of the Ad hoc approach.

10 Apr 2020

Website owners will continue fail to meet the digital accessibility regulations unless there is a change from the present Ad hoc approach to compliance. Online discrimination continues to leave organizations exposed to in a number of cases, repeated litigation risk.

Digital accessibility technology company, AAAtraq (opens in a new window), has said that the majority of websites are failing to comply with accessibility regulations because their owners take an ad hoc approach to compliance. The company says that unless a more strategic approach is adopted, the majority of sites will continue to fail, leaving owners open to potential litigation.

The majority of website owners are taking a tick-box approach to accessibility compliance, employing scanning software to identify and fix obvious accessibility issues as a one-off project. However, as soon as pages are updates, the website can be once again rendered non-compliant.

“Organisations are going round in circles, addressing their website’s accessibility compliance as part of a one-off project, only to find that the site is no longer compliant when the next updates are made,” said Lawrence Shaw, CEO of AAAtraq. “This is leaving site owners exposed to litigation risk as they are not able to demonstrate reasonable adjustment on a continual basis.”

And with over 11,000 lawsuits files in the US during 2018 and 2019 alone, businesses need to be aware of the risks they face.

“To demonstrate reasonable adjustment and mitigate their litigation risk, website owners need to adopt a strategic approach towards accessibility compliance by addressing four key areas: staff training, supplier management, reporting and insurance protection,” said Shaw.

Staff training and development - educating staff to understand accessibility, why this is an issue for the organisation and its clients, and how compliance can be maintained.

Digital Supply Chain Oversight – external suppliers with access to a website can increase risk. Suppliers need to understand the organisation’s commitment to accessibility compliance and be managed effectively.

Compliance reporting – compliance officers need to create reports demonstrating reasonable adjustment through continuous adherence to WCAG 2.1 check-points.

Litigation support and fee insurance – organisations should check their insurance coverage to ensure they are covered for legal expenses as a result of accessibility failings. Where this is not the case, specialist insurance may be required.

“Accessibility is now a major issue in the US with many companies falling foul of aggressive lawyers who see this issue as a soft target, so it’s important that the approach to compliance is not only thorough, but continuous as well.” concluded Shaw.


About AAAtraq

AAAtraq (opens in a new window) is an automated compliance identification management system that allows organisations to understand their existing level of accessibility non-compliance risk exposure, and then work towards full compliance through a managed process.

As well as a personalised pathway to compliance, subscribers receive an AAAtraq ‘accessibility rating’ badge that can be displayed on websites warning those looking to take legal action that they are working towards digital compliance. Complementary insurance—currently for US-based organisations—with up to a US$50,000 benefit limit from global carrier BRIT adds further protection.

AAAtraq assesses current levels of risk, provides guidance to demonstrate reasonable adjustment and enables ongoing certification. A complementary ‘risk profile’ is accessible immediately online, helping any organization to quickly understand if their website is currently compliant and the precise level of risk they face.

At a $100.00 monthly subscription the service provides access to AAAtraq’s full managed service, which offers an automated approach to achieving ongoing compliance. This includes: a guided methodology and full digital supplier management, AI based training and education for developers and content producers, to ensure they understand their responsibilities; benchmarking and KPIs to measure improvements.