Lowering Your Risk of an ADA Website Compliance Lawsuit in 2020

Kris Rivenburgh looks out window of conference room.
Focus on the big picture, don’t get caught in the minutia. (credit Kris Rivenburgh)

You can not eliminate the risk of a web accessibility lawsuit or demand letter completely (especially since some plaintiffs’ law firms don’t send boiler plate templates) but you can make sure that your website or app is WCAG conformant and your organization is following best practices.

If your website’s accessibility has not currently been addressed, I recommend you get your automatic scan errors down to 0.

WAVE and AXE-Core are two popular automated scans that are used by plaintiffs law firms in determining whether a website is inaccessible.

By eliminating your WAVE and AXE errors, you can instantly reduce your risk.

The next step (which you can run in parallel) is to have an independent WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility audit conducted by a third party specialist.

After that audit is produced, I recommend immediately remediating (i.e., fixing) your website so that you address all issues in the report.

Once your website or app has been audited and remediated, I recommend the following measures:

  • 2nd audit and remediation (to be thorough)
  • conduct user testing
  • publish an accessibility policy on your website
  • include an accessibility icon to symbolize that you have addressed accessibility
  • appoint an internal accessibility coordinator and/or committee to ensure your digital assets remain accessible
  • regularly scan your website for accessibility issues that can be flagged automatically
  • conduct interval audits and user testing
  • vet any third-party integrations for accessibility

Obviously the smaller the operation, the less of the best practices you’ll implement.

However, the larger your organization, the more thorough I recommend you make your approach to digital accessibility.

If you follow the measures outlined above, you’ll dramatically lower your chances of litigation and have a very accessible website, app, etc. going forward.

Remember, we can’t stop people from suing us. People can always sue us. But we can make it extremely unlikely they do.

For more on what I recommend, read my article on best practices for ADA Website Compliance.

Also, read the most common web accessibility lawsuit complaints in 2020.

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