April 2020

Accessing Web Accessibility

As our mobile devices become more integrated within our daily lives and routine, the need for our sites to be accessible become more apparent. The average user checks their phone – 63 times a day1. Our mobile devices have become a great resource; therefore, anything on it, including websites, need to be available, approachable and accessible to everyone.

With the latest decision that the U.S. Supreme Court will “not hear Domino's petition on whether its website is accessible”2 has motivated plaintiffs to continue to file lawsuits, with fervor, against big corporations at a staggering rate of one-an-hour.

In 2017, 814 cases were filed related to web accessibility. In 2018, there were 2,285 cases, nearly triple, from the prior year. In 2019, 2,235 lawsuits were filed only slowing down prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Domino’s case. Because of this, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’3 ruling is still intact and has left open the requirement that businesses must make their online services accessible2. Corporations are forewarned that until they make their digital presence assessible, the public will repeatedly continue to file against them.

It may not be mandatory but clients are encouraged, when working on their digital presence, to at least meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG). WCAG defines three standard conformance levels: A, AA, and AAA. Websites must at least support Level A but, since we have the necessary tools and the Department of Justice has been using Level AA as their guideline, it makes sense to go the extra step.

Unfortunately, the automatic scans can only tell us so much. It’ll take more than just the ‘computer eye' to ensure sites in development are up to par with compliance. It can determine if the color contrast of the site is good enough, or if images have alternative text to describe the contents or nature of them, but it won’t share that sites can only have three flashes or below or that each link needs to have a purpose (in context). The list goes on.

The digital space has become quite the hang out for a multitude of people, it’s only fair to them that we put in the extra effort to ensure we are engaging with all of our fans.

  1. https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/smartphone-addiction/#chapter1
  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/10/07/dominos-pizza-website-accessibility-supreme-court-wont-hear-case/3904582002/
  1. https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/01/15/17-55504.pdf

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By Michelle Valente
Front End Web Developer