Most Common ADA Website Compliance Lawsuit Complaints for 2020

Listen to Podcast Episode 6 (MP3 File Download)

This is the Accessible.org Podcast. My name is Kris Rivenburgh and today I’m going to discuss common complaints in ADA Website Compliance lawsuits and these are lawsuits that are happening right now; this is trending for 2020 so the information is as up to date as possible.

And what I’m doing here and largely with these podcasts – I’m trying to stack the numbers in our favor. We’re trying to play the percentages so that we are highly unlikely to ever receive a demand letter or lawsuit.

And on Friday night I was watching webinars and YouTube videos, and I came across a really good one from UsableNet. This UsableNet webinar was led by Jason Taylor and he’s the innovation strategist and advisor to the UsableNet CEO.

And it contained a slide that had the most common accessibility claims that UsableNet has discovered through their own research of combing through these lawsuits. And this research was so good I had… I’ve already wrote an article on it, and now I’m publishing this podcast because this has to be circled and emphasized – everybody should know about this. It’s super, super important so let’s get to these bullet points. There’s 10. There’s about 10 so let’s run through them real quickly.

The 1st one is missing text alternatives for non text content. We’ve all heard of that one.

Secondly, difficulties to make it purchase because wrong values are announced when the user selects a quantity or size.

Third, a sighted user can see location suggestions and click the correct location but this is not announced to VoiceOver users. The ZIP code input field provides a full keyboard rather than the rather than a numeric-only keypad.

The next one is missing announcement of the promo ad, used images of text, the deals and specials information provided by the text, and the image is not accessible to VoiceOver users.

Next, wrong focus order.

The next bullet point is unlabeled products, wrong name of the button.

And then the third to last one is unable to order a product if the user wants to pick it up in store.

Second to last, VoiceOver users are not notified that a pop up is displayed on the home page, buttons without a name.

And then finally missing notice by VoiceOver when selecting product color.

There a few very important takeaways from this and go ahead and think of them to yourself: What, what would you take away from that list?

Well, the first one is to test your website with VoiceOver and make doubly sure that you go through this list and you test everything that they’re claiming in these lawsuits because obviously these are points of emphasis and these are things that they’re specifically targeting.

Clearly, plaintiffs’ law firms are going hard with Macs, and they’re testing with VoiceOver. Andd VoiceOver is a screen reader that’s built into Apple products.

Secondly, retail is clearly being targeted. If you have an ecommerce website, you need to be on high alert; any retailer is affected. If you have a retail website, you are on the target list.

And if you are a Shopify owner, of course, this means you – your eyes should be wide open right now, and you should be thinking, I really need to test my website with Mac, and I need to specifically go over the things in that bullet point list.

Third, although the latest lawsuits, they’re starting to mention WCAG 2.1. If you look at these claims – all of these claims are 2.0 AA failures.

That’s another important thing. Like, although 2.1 is starting to creep up on everybody’s radar, 2.0 AA failures are still what is these lawsuits are coming back to.

And in the bigger picture what the slide tells me even more is that we’re starting to see plaintiffs’ law firms evolve and they’re going to get more intelligent in how they vulture website owners. And this is something that I’ve talked about in previous articles and in my book – they’re not going to stay stagnant.

This isn’t the simple WAVE error list of 2019 although I definitely still recommend – I think it’s even more important than anything you see above to get your WAVE errors down to zero because WAVE is still something that’s prominently used.

But what we, what we’ve seen here is this is a very specifically tailored collection of accessibility testing points that provides for definitive inaccessibility. And when I say that, I mean, if someone cannot readily select a quantity, size or color of a product, that’s a clear cut, easy way to establish inaccessibility and it doesn’t require technical knowledge or background knowledge of WCAG.

That’s something that everybody can see if we – if we can’t successfully order a product, that means your website is inaccessible.

To recap, all website owners, but especially retailers should check their website against every single one of the bullet points I have outlined above. Also, you’ll definitely want to test your website with the VoiceOver screen reader on Mac.

And if you need any help with user testing, I’ve parted with the Center for the blind and visually impaired. You can find more about that Accessible.org.

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