Round up for August, who has been covering online inclusivity?

Aug 17 2021

Digital inclusion and website accessibility have continued to make headlines over the last month. News pieces have kept the same theme about increasing numbers of lawsuits, but have we also seen the first headlines of the next big ADA case?

We’ve compiled some of the most noteworthy stories about online inclusivity over the last few weeks, including a new resource launched by the U.S. Access Board, a significant update from Colorado and more on overlays.

Lawsuits Over Digital Accessibility for People With Disabilities Are Rising

ADA website lawsuits rose 64% in the first half of 2021. The article focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic heightened awareness of accessibility issues, led to the increased use of digital services yet many organisations still don’t give accessibility the attention it requires.

Samuel Proulx, a blind accessibility evangelist at Fable Tech Labs Inc., commented: “It is much easier to have accessible processes from the outset and not be doing all these high-cost remediations,”.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuits-over-digital-accessibility-for-people-with-disabilities-are-rising-11626369056 (opens in a new window)

Colorado first in nation to require web accessibility for government

Colorado has become the first state in the USA to require web accessibility for government websites. This was led by Democratic Rep. David Ortiz whose efforts focused on incorporating some federal protections for people with disabilities into state law, making it easier for them to sue state and local agencies for discrimination.

https://coloradonewsline.com/2021/07/20/colorado-first-web-accessibility-government/ (opens in a new window)

What we learned about accessibility by scanning more than 2 million federal .gov web pages

This piece gives some very eye-opening statistics on .gov websites compliance to the ADA, of the two million federal .gov web pages scanned:

  • Nearly 12 million WCAG 2.1 AA errors
  • An average of 4.69 accessibility errors per page
  • Over one million errors in three .gov domains
  • More than 80 errors per page for one top-level .gov domain

https://fcw.com/digital-government/2021/07/what-we-learned-about-accessibility-by-scanning-more-than-2-million-federal-gov-web-pages/259227/ (opens in a new window)

Man Sues American Airlines Because its Website Discriminates Against Blind People

Is this the next big ADA case?

A legally blind man has filed a class-action lawsuit against American Airlines claiming its website discriminates against people with visual impairments and is in violation of the ADA. Time will tell on how big this case will go.

https://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2021/07/24/man-sues-american-airlines-because-its-website-discriminates-against-blind-people/ (opens in a new window)

U.S. Access Board Launches New Site for the ICT Testing Baseline for Web Accessibility

The U.S. Access Board has released the ICT Testing Baseline for Web Accessibility, to determine if web content meets the Section 508 Standards which incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.

https://www.access-board.gov/news/2021/08/04/u-s-access-board-launches-new-site-for-the-ict-testing-baseline-for-web-accessibility/ (opens in a new window)

What Are Accessibility Overlays And What Are They Good For?

Gareth Ford Williams, previous Head of Accessibility at the BBC wrote this piece for those who are not well versed with accessibility and are considering using an accessibility overlay or plug-in.

The article highlights some of the pros and cons of accessibility overlays.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-accessibility-overlays-good-gareth-ford-williams/?trackingId=%2Fi6UTWK3SQeJJWjSjtNbiw%3D%3D (opens in a new window)

Why inclusive tech remains elusive

This thoughtfully written piece highlights how much progress has been made but how there is still a long way to go to make things truly accessible.

Kayla Love, a multi-racial Black UX (user experience) designer who runs Pilira Design Lab in Puerto Rico, is quoted in the article which highlights where all organisations thinking should be; “When you serve your underserved user first, you create a product that’s much better for everyone,”.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/why-inclusive-tech-remains-elusive/articleshow/84357124.cms (opens in a new window)

One law firm brought hundreds of website accessibility cases. One of their clients says they 'beefed up' her disability in more than a dozen lawsuits.

Lawyers have ‘beefed up’ a legally blind woman’s disability giving the impression she needed to use a screen reader to access the website when in fact she doesn’t. Frances Kalender has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa that is eating at her peripheral vision. She can't drive, and some things look blurry, but her central vision still works; she can read.

This highlights just how aggressive the drive-by ADA lawyers are.

https://www.businessinsider.com/blindness-web-accessibility-lawsuit-law-firm-flaws-screen-reader-ada-2021-8?r=US&IR=T (opens in a new window)

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