Mobile App Accessibility ADA Lawsuits Will Trend Up in 2021

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

  • Shaked Law Group
  • East End Trial Group
  • Leal Law Firm
  • Acacia Barrows Law Firm

Claims Made

Here are some specific claims:

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

What To Do

While 2.0 AA conformance is a great baseline, I refer to it as the classic standard now because it was originally published in 2008, well before mobile usage became so dominant.

Read my article on the difference between WCAG 2.0 AA and 2.1 AA.

An important caveat is that WCAG requirements are for web content, not native mobile apps. In other words, WCAG doesn’t trace perfectly to mobile; some of the success criteria don’t apply.

The good news is WCAG has draft documentation that covers the success criteria that do apply to mobile. The best practice for mobile app accessibility is to follow this document.

Why Go Beyond

Thus, just solely focusing on risk mitigation, it’s best to take care of digital accessibility now and maintain conformance.

2021 Litigation Preview

Thus, while you’re working on your website, I highly recommend addressing your app accessibility as well.

Automated Scans for Mobile Apps

The tempered good news here is that the lack of an automated check contributes to less organizations with mobile apps being sued (because there isn’t a quick way to assess the accessibility of applications).

WAVE and AXE are the two best free scans for websites.

Solutions and Services

Services typically include manual accessibility audits, user testing, documentation (e.g. policy creation assistance, conformance statement, certification, etc.), remediation and/or tech support, and legal support.

It is vital that you contract with a legitimate provider. There are a number of vendors who are either scam overlay sellers or digital marketing agencies masquerading as accessibility experts.

Attorney. Author of The ADA Book: (affiliate). founder.