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

Mar 29 2022

The month of March hasn’t been a quiet one in terms of digital inclusion news. In the last month, we’ve seen some significant updates which we’ll highlight for you below.

These highlights include a few pieces covering accessibility in the workplace, a further update on one of the biggest website ADA cases to be brought to court and progress from the DOJ.

Many accessibility problems would be solved if business did three things

This recent article from advocate Sheri Byrne-Haber, covers “Three adjustments to the way we do business could vastly improve the world for people with disabilities”. This includes insisting on accessibility training and products being accessible from the word go.

https://sheribyrnehaber.medium.com/many-accessibility-problems-would-be-solved-if-business-did-three-things-43f8e40053fd (opens in a new window)

Blind People Stagnating At Work Due To Inaccessible Technology, Says New Study

In this Forbes piece, Gus discusses the barriers employees with disabilities face in the workplace. It states “employees with sight loss continue to be hampered in carrying out the bare essentials of their jobs by their employer’s lack of knowledge and commitment to digital accessibility”, which is “more often than not, purely framed through the narrow prism of a lack of access to outward consumer-facing websites”.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2022/02/22/blind-people-stagnating-at-work-due-to-inaccessible-technology-says-new-study/?sh=5fe30bc716e7 (opens in a new window)

Disability organizations call on DOJ to finalize online accessibility rules

One of the biggest stories from the last month has been about 170 disability organizations signing and issuing a letter calling on the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to finalize rules relating to online accessibility. The signatories of the letter want the DOJ to create enforceable accessibility standards and note how “In 2018, the Department reconfirmed its position that the ADA applies to the internet but never completed rulemakings that were begun in 2010 under Titles II and III of the ADA and withdrawn in 2017".

https://www.engadget.com/disability-organizations-letter-calling-for-online-accessibility-rules-215716138.html (opens in a new window)

Web Accessibility Claims Put Institutions of Higher Learning at Risk

In this piece, written by Adam Bialek, which features a recent AAAtraq ADA Risk Audit of Higher Education Institutions, Adam discusses how many institutions of higher education believe they are accommodating and inclusive. However, the facts are very different with 96% failing to be inclusive. The article goes on to discuss whilst there are the important moral and discriminatory issues relating to the students of such institutions, there is also the issue that the barriers presented by non-accessible websites and materials pose significant risk to litigation and should be a real concern to leaders.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/web-accessibility-claims-put-institutions-higher-learning-risk (opens in a new window)

Landmark ADA Case Leaves More Questions Than Answers on Website Obligations

This piece evaluates the recent federal court decision regarding Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In specific, how the Eleventh Circuit denied a request to rehear the landmark Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc case “effectively shutting the door on the case and punting the issue until it is addressed at a later time or the Supreme Court weighs in” and what this might mean for future cases.

https://www.hrdefenseblog.com/2022/03/landmark-ada-case-leaves-more-questions-than-answers-on-website-obligations/ (opens in a new window)

Why web accessibility is vital to HR

Another article covering the theme of accessibility in the workplace, this one looks at how making adjustments to your HR practices to make them more accessible, can show employees they are valued, especially as more workplace communication happens through digital channels. This includes digital content such as workplace PDF documents, feedback quizzes and videos should be accessible and therefore accommodate disabled employees.

https://www.benefitnews.com/opinion/why-web-accessibility-is-vital-to-hr (opens in a new window)

How Website Accessibility Affects Your Brand's Reputation and Success

In this piece, the ongoing sector message about the risk that providing inaccessible website content brings continues. Many organizations see accessibility as just a hassle but as this piece demonstrates that it can cause big issues for your credibility and revenue.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/420317 (opens in a new window)

Department of Justice Issues Web Accessibility Guidance Under the ADA

Now for the big one: the DOJ “has published guidance on web accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to inform state and local governments and businesses open to the public on how to ensure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities”. The guidance gives examples of the types of content organizations need to consider making accessible and quite importantly relating to overlay technology. The guidance states “Automated accessibility checkers and overlays that identify or fix problems with your website can be helpful tools, but like other automated tools such as spelling or grammar checkers, they need to be used carefully. A “clean” report does not necessarily mean everything is accessible. Also, a report that includes a few errors does not necessarily mean there are accessibility barriers. Pairing a manual check of a website with the use of automated checkers can give you a better sense of the accessibility of your website.'”

https://www.access-board.gov/news/2022/03/21/department-of-justice-issues-web-accessibility-guidance-under-the-ada/ (opens in a new window)

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