Don’t Blame The System!

Oct 25 2022

If you’re the Risk Manager or AAAtraq Service Owner, you may hear this from your technical team, so be ready: THIS REPORT IS WRONG! RUBBISH! THIS SYSTEM DOESN’T WORK! IT’S INCORRECT!

The AAAtraq service points out what to do and where the compliance failures (and subsequent risk) are. The service is working exactly as it should, in fact, we so confident in our reporting that we back it up with $50,000 of cover by way of guarantee! The stumbling block here is addressing compliance issues on web pages, which require a level of understanding and the corresponding skills to address accessibility failures.

It may well be the case that incumbent web people have expressed the capability to address these issues, having told the risk managers “all’s ok” and now they’re being exposed. Therefore, too common a response to the detail is to refute issues exposed, or point a finger at the system being at fault. Communications (emails / webinars) underline the heart of the issue: there is a skills gap, a previous lack of understanding and we are telling people the news they didn’t want to be told, therefore they’d prefer to blame the system and not take responsibility. No one can be knowledgeable in all aspects of online delivery and website accessibility work can be a very specialist area.

The AAAtraq service creates a bespoke program for each member, as every site will have differing needs and requirements, and its own issues to correct. There are help screens explaining individual steps. It’s very rare that once the steps are followed, any training is required, and any training requirement is perhaps in relation to technical capability to address the website problems, rather than the use of the AAAtraq system. Sitemorse is the diagnostic testing tool we use to provide such detail, if you have your own tool, you are welcome to continue using this.

The detail of what to correct is provided, and service owners are going to have to ensure they have the technical people/web teams that understand how to correct the issues pointed out, or engage resources with the correct level of expertise. In short: you have to deal with this. There are no quick-fixes or short-cuts - and if you don't have the technical capability in-house - you need to find someone that has.

To help members, we are setting up a list of potential support providers with whom you can connect to address specific ADA ‘accessibility’ corrective actions should you require such support. We do not at this stage certify any provider, so if you’ve sourced one independently, the first thing you should do is ask them for reference clients, and you should check their own websites via www.AAAtraq.com/check (opens in a new window) (higher risk sites, along with vendor excuses, should ring alarm bells) and you should ask for an indemnity.

All external contractors, vendors, service suppliers (peephole, website products, add-ons etc.) need to be set as vendors in the vendors area of AAAtraq. The system will take you, step-by-step through this, and once you’ve added them, your ADA compliance policy will be sent to them automatically, and you’ll be able to track receipt and acknowledgement thereof. It’s you who receives the demand, not the vendor – if they say “we don’t need AAAtraq” ask them why not, and ask them to ensure and prove that you are indemnified against ADA claims.

We appreciate that the work required is adding to the workload of very busy web / technical teams – and it’s not the most exciting or rewarding work to be sure. However, the alternative is having to deal with a lawsuit or legal demand – and reacting to this will be far more painful and expensive than setting some time aside each week to work through the issues and remove the risk.

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