We receive no fewer than two dozen unsolicited telemarketer calls each week. Most of these callers are unceremoniously direct-transferred (usually mid-sentence) to someone else in the company or just hung up on.
These calls suck and everyone agrees.
Yet occasionally (very rarely), one receives a worthwhile call. We took such a call a couple weeks ago from accessiBe, agreed to be pitched, and after about 8 slides we told the pitchman we were sold. You see, about 7 months ago when we started receiving calls from Clients regarding letters they had received from law firms threatening to sue them for having “inaccessible” websites. Of course, the beneficent law firms (heavy sarc) always offer an option for the business to settle outside-of-court instead.
Website Accessibility Lawsuits/Demand Letters
- 200% increase in lawsuits and demand letters from 2017 to 2018
- DOJ affirms ADA applies to websites since November 2018
- 2019 tripled 2018 in papers served
- Over 150,000 demand letters served to businesses since 2017
- 93% of demand letters settle outside of court for $20,000 – $150,000 on average
- 7% of businesses fight and lose in court
What is an Inaccessible Website?
A website that doesn’t comply with ADA, Section 508 (US), EN 301549 (UK, EU) requirements/provisions for making websites consumable for people with disabilities.
What is an Accessible Website?
“Web accessibility is a set of rules, behaviors, code standards and design guidelines, that are meant to allow people with disabilities, which comprise 20% of the world’s population, to effectively use websites… focus[ing] mainly on three areas of accessibility: blind people using screenreaders (JAWS, NVDA), people with motor impairments that are using the keyboard, and a variety of other disabilities such as color blindness, epilepsy, and minor visual impairments that are mainly focus on the UI and design of the website” – accessiBe
Is my website Accessible?
If you don’t know then your site is more than likely non-compliant (ie. inaccessible).
Am I at Risk of Being Sued? (or, “how do I make sure my website is not preventing disabled people from consuming it?”
See immediately above.
How do I Mitigate Against Being Sued (or, “how do I make sure my site is accessible to the 20% of people who may struggle consuming it?”)
In the past, you would hire people like SunAnt to manually optimize your site and content to help ensure that it is accessible. Not a inexpensive solve.
HOWEVER, now it can be accomplished by cool “AI” software, such is offered by accessiBe. Not cheap, but vastly less expensive than the old way.
How does it work?
Good grief, you ask a lot of questions. We’ll give you accessiBe’s explaination:
“accessiBe utilizes two components that, together, achieve compliance. The first is our foreground application, the accessibility interface, which is responsible for 30% of the requirements, mostly UI and design-related. The second is our background application (AI, Machine Learning powered), which is responsible for the remaining 70% of requirements, mostly related to blind people’s screen-reader adjustments, and keyboard navigation optimizations for people with motor impairments.” – accessiBe
How much does it cost?
For most websites, about $50/month. It’s not cheap. In most cases, it’ll cost more than your monthly hosting. Best to think of it as an insurance expense (even though it is not really).
Is it worth it?
From a Machiavellian Standpoint: It depends on how lucky you feel. It depends on what industry you are in. It depends on how much exposure you have and how much you can muster to defend yourself.
From a Sales Standpoint: if it is the case that 20% of your visitors are disabled in a way that would make it more difficult for them to do business with you, and your website is a key resource to the marketplace, then the answer is “yes”.
From a Humanitarian Standpoint: it’s always decent to do what one can to make life easier for the disabled.
Where can I see accessiBe’s solution in action?
You can visit SunAnt.com (oh wait, you’re already here). Look Down, click on the Wheelchair Icon. You can also visit the accessiBe website for more detailed information.
I’ve already received a love letter like this. What do I do now?
We are not attorney’s, so we can’t give legal advice. However, what we have heard is the following:
Step 1: do not respond in any form or fashion to the phishing lawyers
Step 2: contact your attorney
Note: States vary in terms of whether you are allowed a “grace period” to bring your site into compliance.
Can SunAnt Help?
Yes. We can help integrate your website with accessiBe
The only thing worse than receiving international SPAM calls is receiving unsolicited love letters from ambulance-chasing attorneys looking to stick it to you. Okay, that might be hyperbole.. the Pandemic is a lot worse… but you get the drift.