Why did we form AAAtraq?

Apr 12 2023

AAAtraq is the world’s first service to combine automated compliance software with litigation support and costs coverage indemnity, giving organizations the opportunity to effectively manage the risks around online accessibility compliance and the inevitable corresponding costs.

We often get asked why and how we formed AAAtraq and its services, so here is our story:

AAAtraq is unique, but it wasn’t formed overnight. It is based on many years of experience in the industry and is a culmination of everything we’ve learned in helping organizations to tackle the challenges around compliance and digital inclusion.

We’ve been involved in reporting on aspects of website compliance for nearly two decades, as well as numerous projects and programs relating to online accessibility. But over these twenty years we’ve seen no discernible improvement in compliance. AAAtraq brings a different approach which starts to address the root causes of why previous approaches to compliance have failed.

Our mission to improve website accessibility for all

The current situation relating to compliance is unsustainable. Digital compliance is proving to be prohibitively expensive for many organizations and the corresponding growth in lawsuits. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) demand letters and costs are exploding with exponential year-on-year growth. This issue is not going away. Something must be done.

This is not just a problem for large enterprises like Domino’s (opens in a new window), but smaller businesses and public sector organizations, too. In the US, lawyers are even serving ADA demand letters and filing lawsuits against schools, resulting in fees being paid that should be helping support education rather than lining the pockets of litigators. The net result is that organizations of all types and sizes are vulnerable to being sued and paying out.

Of course, this is a moral issue as well as being risk-based. Websites, apps and other digital services must not discriminate against people living with disabilities. However, the truth is that the large majority do, despite CDC estimates that approximately one adult in four in the US is living with some form of disability.

Our mission is to make a difference: we want to protect those who are taking their accessibility responsibilities seriously, and focusing their efforts on making their digital channels more accessible. We want to ensure that they are not distracted by lawsuits and hit with unexpected costs. In protecting these organizations, we hope to contribute to the wider aim of a more accessible and inclusive internet.

Pioneers in digital compliance

We created one of the very first auditing and assessment tools to measure compliance relating to online accessibility, helping to reduce the relative time, cost and complexity of achieving and maintaining compliance. We’ve got 18 years of website assessment and checking capability experience, 16 years in automated accessibility auditing and over a decade of delivering site certification and analytics.

Being a pioneer in the market has allowed us to refine our approaches. We know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve also gained a deep awareness and appreciation of the reasons why digital inclusion remains an area where so many organizations fall short.

Along the way we’ve gained deep domain knowledge and expertise on accessibility, with our directors acting as expert witnesses in numerous court cases and advising organizations such as the EU.

One of the biggest things we’ve learnt is there are no overnight fixes to achieving compliance. For this reason, AAAtraq adds the element of insurance, protecting those committed to compliance from the heavy costs and distraction of litigation while on their compliance journey.

Bringing everything together, AAAtraq’s Continuous Protection Risk Control Program includes:

  • Costs coverage insurance & expert claims defense / management
  • Independent, understandable reporting and monitoring
  • A Compliance Identification & Management System.

Stability and independence

AAAtraq was founded by Lawrence Shaw in 2020 and benefits from having a very stable team, with the same management executive and wider team in place for many years. We have teamed up with partners with years of costs indemnity experience in the US, including 31 years of policy assessment and production, 27 years of managing compliance coverage products and 17 years of agent recruitment and related support.

We’re also fully independent, privately funded and free from vendor influence. We treasure our independence as it means we can continue to provide unbiased auditing and assessment which isn’t compromised through conflicts of interest. We consider our independence to be critical in providing an accurate and unbiased snapshot of the level of risk of any given website at any given time.

Unfortunately, other parts of the accessibility industry are not so independent. CMS vendors and digital agencies are prone to bias when reporting on the level of compliance relating to their own work. Meanwhile some other accessibility compliance solution vendors are simply not presenting an accurate picture of compliance-based risk.

When we launched in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit almost immediately afterwards. Since then, people living with disabilities are relying on websites and digital services even more. Digital inclusivity has never been more important.

The pandemic has only doubled our resolve to increase compliance, reduce risk and make the internet more accessible for everyone.

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