Laptop showing man and woman on screen with man communicating in sign language.
Laptop showing man and woman on screen with man communicating in sign language.
Credit: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Summary: The FCC makes a decision on compensation for Video Relay Service (VRS) providers soon. The deadline for comments is July 15, 2021. If VRS providers don’t receive adequate compensation, communications access for the deaf and hard of hearing community suffers.

At the end of your article, you can find out how to voice your support for VRS provider compensation.

Amanda Tuite, an Accessibility Leader, sent me a very important message on LinkedIn. In that message, she linked to an article by Sherri Turpin: It’s Time to Invest in Infrastructure for Deaf Americans on SEE Change Magazine.

I read Sherri’s…


man working from multiple desktop monitors
man working from multiple desktop monitors

Making your digital assets accessible involves a commitment on your part.

There are 50 WCAG success criteria (i.e., a checklist of 50 to-do’s) that are highly recommended for web accessibility.

Sometimes checking off a WCAG success criteria is simple and easy and other times it may be arduous and time-consuming (it depends on the asset).

But what is doable if you don’t have the skills of a web designer or web developer?

DIY WCAG Success Criteria

I have designated the following 11 success criteria as directly applicable for the primary role of content editor (i.e., …


Man inquisitively reading Macbook.
Man inquisitively reading Macbook.

In a scathing statement condemning Accessibe released on Thursday, June 24, the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) had this to say:

The Board believes that accessiBe currently engages in behavior that is harmful to the advancement of blind people in society.

“In particular, it is the opinion of the Board that accessiBe peremptorily and scornfully dismisses the concerns blind people have about its products and its approach to accessibility.

“The Board is deeply concerned that the company treats blind access technology experts shabbily and disrespectfully in private meetings and disparages the blind in the press and their other communications.


woman typing on Macbook
woman typing on Macbook

There are several hidden and non-hidden layers to buying digital accessibility services.

In this article, I’ll provide you all of the key elements to be aware of when researching a company to help you with your website’s (or app’s) accessibility.

Overlays

First, you need to be aware that overlay widgets are a waste of money — they do nothing and can actually make the experience worse for your audience.

You probably had the notion of “too good to be true” when you were being sold instant accessibility and compliance for $0–$99/month but now I’m verifying it.

Overlays that are sold as…


gavel
gavel

A noteworthy decision was passed down on April 7, 2021 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit:

“Absent congressional action that broadens the definition of “places of public accommodation” to include websites, we cannot extend ADA liability to the facts presented to us here, where there is no barrier to the access demanded by the statute.”

This decision overturns the trial court’s ruling that Winn-Dixie’s website violated the ADA because the website had accessibility deficiencies.

For those keeping score at home, Gil v. Winn-Dixie was the first federal website accessibility case to be decided on the…


woman looking at laptop
woman looking at laptop

What do you name the accessibility page that you link to in the footer of your website?

Do you call it an accessibility statement or should you go with accessibility policy?

The police aren’t coming to your door if you choose the wrong one, but we both know why we’re in this saloon (details and a shot of OCD).

The W3C (creators of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) use a statement but as this topic falls within the legal best practices realm, I’d prefer to align with the Department of Justice’s stance.

For those of you keeping score at home…


iphone with apps on screen
iphone with apps on screen

As I was extracting data from October, November, and December 2020 lawsuits, I noticed an uptick in mobile app lawsuits — and not just from a single law firm but from a scattered few.

Law Firms

  • Law Office of Duran
  • Shaked Law Group
  • East End Trial Group
  • Leal Law Firm
  • Acacia Barrows Law Firm

Claims Made

Every lawsuit I came across contained some variation of the app not being compatible with Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader.

Here are some specific claims:

  • missing alt text
  • redundant descriptions
  • mislabeled elements
  • touch target too small

What To Do

As of 2021 — and especially when it comes to mobile accessibility —…


man signing document
man signing document

The Accessibility Conformance Report or ACR is a completed VPAT® + all the essential information about the report itself.

The difference between VPAT and ACR is the source of moderate confusion so let’s unpack everything.

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template or VPAT is just that — a blank template that can be filled out to account for a product or service’s state of accessibility.

An ACR is a completed VPAT (i.e., the blank template is filled out) along with all of the other details in the report.

In the marketplace, the term VPAT dominates, even though it’s usage is technically…


U.S. flag
U.S. flag

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates recipients of assistance from the federal government not discriminate on the basis of disability.

Thus, organizations who receive federal funding may not exclude or deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in or have access to program benefits and services.

Who does Section 504 typically affect?

  • universities / colleges
  • educational institutions
  • public and private schools (who receive funding)
  • hospitals
  • nursing homes
  • mental health centers

Federal funding can include financial aid, grants, and other government monies extended as financial assistance to an organization.

Non-profit associations and organizations who receive federal…


U.S. flag
U.S. flag

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC § 794d) requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain and use information and communications technology (ICT) that is accessible to people with disabilities.

The quick answer to what Section 508 Website Compliance entails is WCAG 2.0 AA conformance.

To get a better idea of the legal requirements, let’s look at more details pertaining to ICT, WCAG, and what is covered under 508.

ICT

ICT includes a range of technology including:

  • Smart phones and mobile devices
  • TVs
  • Internet and Intranet websites
  • Remote access websites and tools
  • PDF documents
  • Online training
  • Webinars and…

Kris Rivenburgh

Chief Accessibility & Legal Officer at https://essentialaccessibility.com. Author of The ADA Book. ADA & AODA Website Compliance & web accessibility consultant.

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