Website accessibility has become a focal point for many companies, with some of the world’s most significant firms facing repeated lawsuits. Despite investing in accessibility audits and spending vast sums on solutions, the lawsuits persist. The core issue? A misunderstanding of what truly prevents litigation. Here’s a bulleted breakdown:
- The Limitation of Accessibility Audits:
- Typically, audits take 3-6 weeks and provide comprehensive coverage of WCAG 2.1 AA standards.
- A single audit can uncover 20 different issues, with potentially hundreds of instances for each issue.
- Digital teams, often unfamiliar with accessibility, can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of issues.
- Audits fail to prioritize issues based on legal risk.
- The Strategy Gap:
- Once the audit is done, companies must devise an accessibility strategy. Many lack the knowledge to do so, and their digital accessibility providers don’t necessarily offer guidance on litigation prevention.
- Key considerations include who will remediate, how long remediation will take, and when the task will be complete.
- With multiple stakeholders, communication can break down, leaving some issues unresolved.
- The Litigation Alignment Issue:
- Traditional audits, while essential, aren’t necessarily aligned with preventing litigation.
- Many products and services marketed for ADA compliance don’t directly address the most common litigation triggers.
- The Real Solution – Precision and Proactivity:
- Approximately 15 accessibility issues frequently give rise to lawsuits. Addressing these on primary website pages should be the first step.
- This approach can be executed in about two weeks with a focused effort.
- Companies must shift from aiming for perfection to taking immediate, targeted actions to reduce litigation risks.
- Comprehensive accessibility, including full WCAG 2.1 AA conformance, remains the end goal. But starting with high-risk issues will prevent immediate litigation threats.
In conclusion, while technical ADA compliance is vital, practical compliance—targeting the 15 most common issues leading to litigation—is the pressing need. Both big and small companies should prioritize these issues before broadening their scope. This streamlined approach not only reduces litigation risks but also paves the way for complete digital asset accessibility.