My name is Bethany Sirven, and I am themarketing director here at UsableNet.Our. Webinar today is digital accessibility and ADA lawsuits in 2021. Before we begina few housekeeping items, all attendees are mutedbut. If you have a question during the presentationwe, encourage you to, please send them in viathe q, a not the zoom chat.
If we do not getto your question today, we do have the abilityto pull a report and reach out to you. Directlywe have allocated time at the end for a q awith. Our speakers we do have live, captionstoday you’ll want to make sure those are enabledand zoom and we are recording. Today’S sessionyou will receive an email early next week. Whenthat recording is available to watch on demandyou’ll also receive a copy of today’s slideswe, encourage you to share those resources.
Withother members of your team just ask that youreference usablenet as the source. Finally atthe end of today’s session. We have a surveyit’s a super quick four questions. Please takea moment and let us know how we did: we used thatfeedback to plan future webinars and other content. Now it’s my great pleasure to hand thesession over to our speakers for introductionsstarting, with Jason Taylor.
Jason Thanks, Bethany Hieverybody, this is Jason Taylor from UsableNet We have around about 400 participants today. Sowe hope that myself and I brought Tanner Gers to engage you guys over the next 45 minutes toan hour. A brief background on myself. I’Ve beenin accessibility and usability for about 20 yearsand, we’ve usable net user bornet in the early dayshelped, quite primarily education and governmentagencies, with the section 508 and complying withsection 508 and has obviously um over the yearsum uh. Taking that knowledge and and help allsorts of companies today across across a widerange of industries, my early years were workingwith usability, gurus such as jacob nielsenat, the end at the nelson and norman groupearly, vendors of um html, building software suchas dreamweaver from macromedia, which is now partof.
Adobe working with things like microsoft, frontpage, so um been around this industry. Quite a whileone of my roles here at usaburnet is tohead up our tracking of the ada lawsuitsum, essentially to inform us and to informour clients on how best to ensure thatwe’re, delivering and our clients are deliveringgreat accessible experiences at the same timereducing, their risk. Um. I’Ve got a pleasureof being joined by tanner gears today, fromuseablenet tan, and maybe you can quicklyintroduce yourself and your role here at youtubeyeah. Thanks, jason, hey everybody.
This is tannergears, i’m very excited to be here with you. I amhead of global partnerships at usablenet, andprimarily, i’m working with um. You know adalaw firm, legal teams that are defending thesetypes of cases, um web agencies and any type ofconsultancy. That’S working on digital, i’m helpingthem leverage, our resources and technology, toreally um, you know from the consultancy and agencyperspective helping them leverage. Our resources, toyou know, provide additional value to their toyour client base, um to drive top line, keep yourclients more sticky and showing you how to reallymaximize the opportunity of digital accessibilitywhile, also protecting your clients from legal riskon, the on the legal team side we’re helping umwith.
You know top to bottom that entire processof valid um these issues, helping uh clients, andcustomers remediate these issues, maintaining thatover time and again protecting everybody fromlegal problems, but yeah. That’S a little bitabout me and my role here. Using that thanks tanaum i mean some people might know. Tanner fromhis um other roles within the industry, umcanada’s uh, recently joined user bonnet umi think it’s relevant um, especially for yourinput today, and to maybe could you give us abackground if you feel comfortable around yourjourney of becoming blind um how that sort ofchanged your changed over time For you um, if youcould give us a little bit of a background on thatthat’d, be very useful. I think yeah yeah totally100 comfortable, so i became blind as an adult justregular kid and adult you know no disabilitiesum at all and you know just really became awareof.
So many of the problems that um surroundingpeople with disabilities as it relates to digitalaccessibility um, equitable access and inclusion toall, the things that i took for granted beforei lost my sight and then just really kind. Ofyou know having this unique perspective of whatlife is like without a disability and then lifewith a disability and all the problems that comealong with that or the hurdles and obstaclesand um. You know uphill battles that people withdisabilities have to face. I think that provides mea unique opportunity to help guide ourpartners um in understanding the importanceof accessibility, as well as how to navigate umnavigate the current environment that we’re inthank. You um i’ll be amazed because i think the umthe bio slide is very sort of small and there maybe people on the on the call like yourself areblind.
So i do want to make your reference. Butum tana is a is an athlete of uh of note. Um he’sactually competed for the u.s uh uh us nationalteam in paralympics. Is that correct?
Yes, sir yessir? So so, if anyone ever meets tanner and isn’thow, i met tana, go uh, go to the gym and and umhim for some type of sport, which is what i didum. When i first met tana, so um uh bethany, if youcould move on to the agenda, slide useful thank youso. What i want to do is tryto. Give you some color to the report that we produced so um.
You shouldhave received an email this morning where youtalked about you, you’re signed up for thiswebinar, but also um. If you haven’t uh gotit before um, basically but 2020 reportthat, we put together around the legalum uh numbers that we sort of talk about in thosereports um and then i’m going to basically try togive you color about where those numbers comefrom. What we see in those numbers and then howthat how we see that effect in 2021, but alsopractically what we feel most of our clients or what we would recommend. Most companies doin the situation of either trying to avoidgetting a lawsuit, a lawsuit or demand letteror when they get a demand-loading lawsuit whatare. The first steps that we would recommend acompany do um.
So first, let me just talk aboutmethodology and i use the big numbersso. If you can move on one slide bethany, so what we’ve seen over the last three years, isa steady increase. Um. Last year we saw a total of3 500 ada related lawsuits, and i want to makesure that people understand how we get these numbers where they come from, because there area number of sources out there, where you couldpotentially have a website. Tell you what sort ofada cases there are um we go to the tedious leveluh.
It takes us a lot of time. We primarily forfederal cases. We go to pacer, we track every singleada case in pesa. If there’s lawyers on the callthey’ll know that there is no distinction in pacerto say that a lawsuit is related to a website oran app over a car park or a toilet in a restaurantso we download every docket across the federalcourts. We open those dockets.
We read those docketsand, we decide if that is a digital focus, so is isthe claim against a digital property. I mean in awebsite an app and you hear it later: video forexample, a digital property um or is it physicaland? Then we we put the physical one for the siteso. All the data with regard to federal is basedoff of pacer. It’S based off of us downloadinglast year.
I think we downloaded and read12 000 dockets to find the 2700 roughly 2 700 umthat are digital focused and then we track thoseum. The second group that make up the 50 303500 are state-level lawsuits that referenceada a violation in the ada as sort of the basisfor the lawsuit. So many may have heard. Thatcalifornia has a state law, it’s called the unruhunruh act. Underneath that act, a violation of theada can be a reason to bring a suit under unruhso.
Those lawsuits are essentially lawsuits where aclaim is made under unruh for the violation of theada, typically in in the cases that we’re trackingbecause the website run app um fails or is claimedto, be an inaccessible. Now how we find those it’snot as easy as a centralized pacer system. Whichbasically lists all of the federal courts. Caseswe have to know the active um county courts. Sowe roughly know the lawyers that are most activeum in this space and we track at the county levelthat court.
We look for the cases every week and wedownload the dockets for that particular court, soum. Typically most of this 700 is it coming out ofcalifornia, but there are some. There are some statesoil suits at state level in new york and floridanow. One thing that we don’t countand is not included in that 3 500is demand letters. How many demanders havebeen sent out is a matter of uh.
Debatethey are a lot um. In our humble opinion, andtalking to lots of ada defense lawyers, whoget called when dum demanders are sent outand called when a client gets an ada, lawsuitwe think demand. Letters might be in theregion of three or four times the numberof, the uh of lawsuits um, but there’s alsodifferences with regards to demand. Lettersit matters a lot where the demand data comefrom, depending on whether that demand letterwill be followed through with a with alawsuit and we’re going to talk aboutyou’ll see later one of the first things i wouldalways recommend. Is you call someone who, in theada law space?
That knows this space, because theada lawsuits are a handful of plaintiffs with ahandful of uh plaintiff law firms and most of thedemand does come out of a handful of law firms. Sothe first call you may want to do is makesure that you talk to someone who knowsthese types of firms how they operate. Um andwhether they’re super serious about going to alawsuit and how they sort of what their. What theirprocess is but we’ll get into that in terms ofhow, you use your sort of local ada um lawyer, ora national lawyer with that sort of expertiseum. If we can move on bethany, so that’s themethodology, so across these 3 500 lawsuitswhat’s, the most common thing that we seeand – i i bring this out because you know primarily, we feel that um most of these lawsuitsand, not all of them most of these lawsuits, aregenerally a Process of following a particular setof rules that create a good volume of lawsuitsso, going back to that number, the 3500 ada lawsuitslast year, it’s not because 3 500 more plaintiffsarrived, the number of plaintiffs is probably quitesimilar to 2019.
The number of plaintiff lawyersis quite similar to 2019, but both of them havebecome more efficient at finding sites that theybelieve are violating the ada in their definitionand, more uh efficient at filing those cases, andmore efficient at negotiating settlements, so um ithink. What we want to do is give you, after reading3500 lawsuits. What is what is the uh? What is theaverage that we see in a in a complaint um, so the primary complaints, areagainst websites and apps, the most common industries, but all industriesare targeted, but the most common industriesare, e-commerce and retail at e-commerce, andrestaurants and hospitality, and we’ll explain, whywe believe that that’s the Case right, um they’rebrought, as i said, by a small group of plaintifflawyers and compliance testers um, who aretypically blind. So actually i want to bring tannerin here and maybe tana.
You can give us an ideaof the types of plaintiffs who are blind, who arealso could be classrooms? Compliance testers, um youknow. What what are they typically doing to try andfind if a website um, in their view, has barriersum to uh to then add to a lawsuit, yeah yeah greatquestion, just the sheer volume of these lawsuitsyou know indicates that you know these groups. Havea methodology of how they’re approaching this andand what they’re doing to to to attack people atscale, so they most likely get a list of websitesto target and then the screen, reader, user or mostcommonly the plaintiff is a screen. User will go tothe website and have a similar flow of how they’llnavigate and validate whether or not theyhave um.
You know a legal claim to make and um they. You know if they find an issue. You know they’regoing to snap a screenshot they’re going tobriefly or excuse me they’re, going to share thatwith their legal partner and they’re going towork through this checklist or basically a listof operations of what they can do. Add somethingto the cart. You know check for the form fieldscheck for the unlabeled links go through that stepand, just as quick as they possibly can.
Validatewhether or not. There is uh substantive evidence, tosubmit a claim or litigation. So this sort ofgoes to you know potentially why e-commercesites well one of the reasons why e-commercesites and hospitality is targeted a lot umyou know it’s quite easy to visit retail sitesthere’s lots of them um the type of operation thatyou might ask a tester to do, which is Like searchfor a product select a product, add it to cartis, repetitive um, so easy to do. In volume, um wealso recognize that you know e-commerce sites. Andyou know.
Hotel sites are quite complicated. They’Redynamic um. You know that they’re definitelyprobably have more ability to make mistakes aroundaccessibility than others um. They change a lotagain, that’s going to generate potential for theissues. So that’s why we see that e-commerce andhospitality.
You know some of the factors of whythey’re the most targeted um tanner as a as ablind screen reader user. When you go to new sitesum sort of how easy is it for you to determineuh uh, you know whether a site is in good shape. Ornot yeah yeah great question, so you know screenyou, know being a screen: reader user that thatis a skill right and so just like anything, elsein life we’re gon na have like beginnersintermediate or expert power, etc and and as youstart to you know, navigate the web on a Regularbasis navigate mobile apps on a regular basisfrom, an assistive technology perspective, youcan really start to categorize um websites. Asit relates to accessibility, compliance into threecounties right, so there’s the ones that you landon the page or the app, and you can just tellthey haven’t done anything. You know.
There’Sjust errors everywhere. You know the there’syou know no heading hierarchy, structure, orit’s, all mixed mixed up, you know, alternativetext attributes are missing, left and rightunlabeled links, buttons, etc. Then there’s theones that are trying to like hack the systemthey kind of know that hey we need to do. Somethingdifferent and so they’re doing a lot of the easystuff like the alternative text, attributes youknow a real uh big indicator of that is likeyou, know logo, or it just says it has informationthat’s not useful to experience or conveysthe the information. That’S intended inthe image um in an alternative way: um you know, but the navigation or thesearch functions or the add to cartexperience the shopping experience.
Umall there’s you know a barrier thereand. So that’s an issue right, we’re we’reworking on accessibility, but we don’t knowenough about it to actually make um the userexperience, effective, inclusive and accessibleand. Then the the the next category is those whoare doing it right. You know they clearly have aknowledge a team with a knowledge base. They’Redeploying that correctly they have um you knowappropriate policies and processes for howthey, develop design and produce contentand structure their assets that they areinclusive.
You know every everything’susable right from the search, the shop tothe checkout to the profile information. Theentire experiences is done correctly, so i thinki think everyone can sort of grasp that idea. Buttana’S really sharing. But you know someonewho is a you know a proficient screen readeruser. So somebody uses a screen reader either tosurvive.
You know reasonably professional maybeuses it in their work and can quickly. Ascertainwhether a website is something that should belooked into a little bit more spend time, ondocumenting barriers or actually this site’sin, pretty good shape. We don’t need to you knowwe can we can? We can take this off the list sothe. Second, the second thing that we believehappens, because it it typically exists in mostof these lawsuits or these lawsuits is someoneyou know once the blind users gone through andsort of said: hey, here’s, the out of the 20sites.
You told me to test here’s the 10 thatseemed to have the most amount of problemsto me. Here’S a couple of screenshots rightthey’ll then go and use a sort of a a legal internto go run. An automatic scan on the top pages ofthose sites to generate a whole list of generalissues um typically referred against the wcagsaying. This website misses all of these types ofitems. They typically aren’t specific.
They don’tsay the home page is missing this, and this pageis missing this they’ll say the pages the thewebsite has, you know undefined headers, the websitehas headers out of order. Their website has imagesmissing all text. So, essentially, you know thesetwo, these two sort of activities are combinedput into a put into a claim and then filed okayum. So you know what we’ve seen in the end of 2020so 2020 and this year is that the standard thatthe the claims will sort of argue is around wcag2.1 issues, which is the prevailing standard.
Doublea um. It used to be always reference: 2.0 double aum, but if you’re a plaintiff, what lawyer whynot put the harder uh more more recent uhstandard in there if you’re, claiming that that astandard is not being uh not being adhered to? Umand then, finally, sort of again where, where is mostof, this happening is happening in new york, federalflorida federal california, state that that’s youknow, essentially and also california, federal isquite, active um, so california, state plus federalbasically, makes california pretty much thethe the the um the most active. Now that doesn’tmean, that you need to be based in floridauh, new york or california to get sued it justmeans that you um cannot be uh.
You you operatethere, so um, i would argue the the main reasonsfor. That is there’s legal reasons: the courts aremore uh more welcome into these types of casesum. These are where the plaintiff firms work umand. Also, you know these are reasonably expensiveplaces to uh to defend so um if you’re, if yourbusiness, is to sue someone then and then allowthem to settle um for a particular price. Thenyou know if you sue them in an expensive, placelike new york.
You know the prices are going up: soum bethany, if you maybe can move on to the nextslide um, which is you know? Why do we think thatthe numbers have increased from 2019 to 2020and? Maybe also, why do we think the numberswill probably continue to move that way? Um so youknow, the first thing is you’ve got to understandwhere. Did these lawsuits come from um they’re notsaying?
This happened just in the last three yearsum a little bit of background uh for those whoare inaccessibly. You know, there’s been federallaws um that dictate that um. You know. Federalwebsites state websites that take federal moneyneed to be accessible, it was covered under thesection 508 back in 2001 2002. I don’t rememberexactly the year, but that’s 20 years of you knowof standards being existing and in that time from2000 to about 2017, the doj used to join withpro with private lawsuits where the plaintiffwas, typically not the type of plaintiff thatwe’ve described today, but are more advocacy, soamerican Federation of the blind organizationswhich were trying to push the cause of digitalaccessibility.
The department of justice wouldhave joined over 200 of those from 2000 to 2017basically, saying yes, we agree websites and appsshould be accessible, yes, wcag, 2.0. Double a is iswhat. We think is the standard that you shouldachieve and every single one of those lawsuitssettled with those companies paying a fee, a fineand agreeing to remediate their websites and appsso people like bank of america, uh, h, r blockum, so the department of justice establishedthe the blueprint for the Plaintiff firms to usetoday what happened was: in 2017, the departmentof justice were planning to put in very specifictechnical specifications into the ada they decidedum, not to primarily, probably due to the changein administration um. You know pulling away fromuh, let’s say business regulations, um and thatleft.
A sort of gray area for plaintiff firmsto take advantage of but the gray area wasonly on top of the definitive stance of thedepartment of justice, saying websites and appsare subject to the ada wcag 2 8, double a is thestandard that we think you should achieve and theyjoined and sued 200 companies doing it so that hasset the scene for the plaintiffs to say well, thedepartment of justice, believes every website. Andapp should be accessible and 2.0 double a’s iswhere. It’S at that’s their argument at courtand, we’ll get into the fact that most argumentsaren’t made of court anymore but um. You know theother reason why and i talked about californiabeing a big increase under the ada.
The only thingyou can get as a plaintiff is the the remedy. Whichis remediate the site and legal fees, so the actualplaintiff who is in the case blind technicallydoes, not receive any damages. There are no damagesunder the ada, however, in california, under theunruh act, there’s four thousand dollars of damagesper instance. Um. It’S not been re, it’s not beingargued yet but like if you’ve got two missing alttags, that’s two instances.
Typically, they class oneone activity of preventive being prevented fromdoing so because one activity um, but it means thatthere’s, four thousand dollars for the plaintiffwhich means the california is a very attractiveplace to take a lawsuit. If you are a plaintiffum and increases again, the sort of the the valuelevel uh that you can get from a settlement and the other reason is defendants settlei’m, not a lawyer. I can only talk uh. I can onlytalk about why you know companies that we knowhave decided to settle, and you know, we’ve talkedto lots of companies that have received demandletters and lawsuits over the year and that havesettled um, because essentially it’s a for themit’s, a financial number um for them to go. Anddefend themselves, it’s going to cost x, amountof money, the plaintiff, which can only get legalfees um start to start with a number um and try toget that number below the number that they thinkthe client is going to spend on on uh settlingthey settled quickly, because if you Don’T let theplaintiff’s firm work, they can’t ask for more andmore money, so they can.
You know if, if you, if youask, if you settle early, that’s essentially whyyou see the settling early, because the plaintifffirm can’t work and increase their billing hours. There’S a there’s, a there’s! There’S legal reasonsuh, potentially meaning most lawsuits – you don’t getto, argue if you’ve done enough until very lateron in the process. If it’s a digital websitewhich means that you know you’re going tohave to spend x amount of money. Getting therethere are a number of defenses and there’s lotsof good ada defense lawyers, who have um gotlawsuits, thrown out early um, so againwe’re going to get onto that which isfind someone who knows the space findsomeone?
Who knows the arguments and whatpotentially your your options are to get a casedismissed or get a case. Uh negotiated early andcheaply. So we’ll talk about that um, so youknow. I do have to say and let’s talk, abouttanner’s experience you know uh he sayshe can sell. A website.
Has done somethingdone a little bit done? Nothing right, um, the reasonwhy these lawsuits can take place is because someof what our class as the you know, the the baselevel of accessibility has not been prioritizedum. If it was prioritized, quite quite quicklysome websites would fit into tana’s last categoryof. Oh, this looks like someone’s taking thisseriously and i can do the things i want to. Doif websites are in that space: they’re veryunlikely to get soup.
If they’re in the firsttwo markets, they’re more likely to get sued, umso we’ll talk about how do you get into the thirdbucket you’ve done stuff, you’ve taken care of thebig, stuff and you’ve taken care of the easy stuffhow? Do you do that? Quicklywe’Ll talk about that next um. You know the update the reason why i struggleis. Sometimes i look at the um the closed captionshides, the screen from me for to actually see thebullet points.
I’M going to read out um. The lasttwo essentially are we’re seeing an increase inlawsuits that are directed at specific thingsso. It used to be all websites 2018. All websites2019 started to bring in apps as part of thatum. Also we saw in 2020 um video, so uhcompanies being sued just for the videojust.
For the video for not having closed captionsnow, to give you an example, last week out, of50 50 lawsuits 12 of them were directly justfor video and this week out of about 74 lawsuits16 of them were just for apps, so the digitalfocus is expanding. Um. The the video is probablythe main reason for the video is because there’sbeen recently, some lawsuits where um netflix weresued for not having uh closed captioned, moviesso, there’s good, there’s, there’s good case lawthere, um and also it’s probably quite easy. Toyou know, focus and talk about one very specificthing. You have video, it should be captioned, it’snot, captioned um.
You know it’s hard to defendif. You talk to your media department and sayis this caption. They say no, you say: okay, welli, don’t know if we can defend that. Okay, soyou know what you need to be looking at is isways to simply reduce your risk by doing the baselevel of accessibility that you should be doinganyway and and training your departments to do. Itso video is one that you’re going to see more ofum the company that there’s actually one plaintifffirm three plaintiffs, those 12 there’s 12 videolawsuits um we’re in one week.
We saw them doabout 20 29 lawsuits in two months last yearwe’d expect that to be a hundred by the end of theyear, um apps, there’s a different reason for appsin my mind. Apps, are you know really importantfor b1as utana? Maybe you could talk to me aboutwhat’s your day, look like compared to usingyour mobile and using your desktop foryou, know everyday activity and work activity, yeahyeah great question: i’m i’m using both congruentlyall the time. So i you know i’ve got mydesktop machine that i’m using for workbut. I’M also using my mobile device for workat the same time.
Uh that’s across differentapps that might be salesforce. It mightbe teams, it might be linkedin um, you knowi’m, using both of those devices. Congruently andthe same thing is true when i’m traveling, if i’mout and about if i’m in an uber, if i’m at thestore, you know i shop on amazon on my desktopbut, i also shop on amazon on my mobile device it’swhere, i’m at that uh. It’S where i’m at what i needhow fast, i need it and other normal variablesthat. You know dictate you know what i’m goingto use and when, but without my uh, without myiphone and access to the apps and the data andthe information that i need um, i wouldn’tbe as effective as i am, and i think it’s aso we we talked about what is A what’s the typicalplaintiff a typical plaintiff is a blind user.
Thatuses a screen reader most of those blind users arejust like tanner. They use their mobile device morethan, they use their desktop and actually they cantest sites and uh and identify sites. You’Ve gotgot issues as quickly, if not quicker, on mobiletake screenshots, like we all take screenshotsuh and send them into their law, firm to say, heythis. This website has a lot of issues. That’S rightso.
You’Ve got to think that you know the the thetesters that are out there. Um, the blind people whoare plaintiffs uh – they are, you know i would callthem aggressive advocates um uh, they are lookingto. You know be successful in their role, which isfind websites and apps, which have problems. Um andyou know it’s just as easy for them to find appsum with problems, as is desktop, so we expect to seethat um increase uh in 2021 and then finally, in2020 um. You know every website that we see that’slisted in a lawsuit, so just from a methodologypoint of view, we talked about we download thedockets, we find the ones we’ve got, got websitesor apps as part of the that’s part of the claimthe.
Other thing that we do is we go to thatwebsite and we see where that website already hasinvested in accessibility. So we actually, we checkto see whether it’s got an accessibility statementum. You know we, we we take a look at it, ourselvesto determine. We think that this company is youknow, hasn’t done anything or has done somethingbecause, that that will change the way that wemight approach that particular client a lot ofthe times um out of 250 of the lawsuits, last yearthe company’s already put a an accessibilitywidget or overlay, and for Those people who that isum it’s a it’s a feature, that’s being sold, bya range of vendors. That says we can solve youraccessibility overnight.
By putting this widget onyour website, it’s reasonably affordable, it doesn’tuh it. It looks. It looks like it’s going to dosomething to people who don’t know. Assistivetechnology very well looks quite impressive, but atthe fundamental level. It doesn’t actually changeany of the code issues that tana talked aboutit tries to basically create an alternativeenvironment for the users of your site.
Withdisabilities now um again, when you see thesewidgets, you’re gon na be like oh, they look reallycool, they do things, i didn’t know you could doum, but that might primarily because you probablyhaven’t seen an assistive user use theirtechnology. Essentially, what happens isthat these sites are putting on a widgeton top of a website. That’S then used by a screenreader and that generates to screen readers lotsof issues, so this is this is a link to a videowhich is in a lawsuit. Today, it’s actually a linkit’s. This type of video is now in.
I thinklast week was in seven lawsuits. Okay wherethe company that was being sued was being suedfor inaccessible websites. In addition, one ofthe reasons why it was inaccessible. It listed thewidget as the reason why it was inaccessible. Andit provided a video of their um of their testertheir screen reader user, trying to use the videotrying to use the website on their mobile phoneum, and this is this – is the actual video.
So if wecan just play that video better.com headingprevious button refresh page button, add tocollections button read aloud button accessibilityhelp and statement link, skip links, region landmark web dialogue, close accessibilitystatement ibobs.com april 4th 2000ibob, stop accessing close buttonclose accessibility, interface, close accessibility, interface, closeaccessibility, close accessibility, andclose accessibility, Interface, close accessibilityclose, accessibility, interface, close accessibilityinterface, close accessibility, interfaceclose, accessibility, interface, button all right, so that just gives you anidea. That what’s happening is thecompanies that think they’re actuallysolving, their excessive very problem are justadding. Another one item that aplaintiff can add to their lawsuitand.
It’S very easy to find these problems youactually if you’re a real screen. Reader useryou’re gon na you’re gon na have an issue withpretty much every widget in every environmentum, because the widget’s there to make it look goodmake, you look like you’ve, helped some people butactually. It’S not helping any screen: readerusers, um and i’ll. Maybe just get tanner to giveyou his personal opinion about him, usinga screen reader and widgets yeah. I mean i mean that video right there demonstratedyou know the user was stuck there, couldn’tthat with the app at all and the same thing istrue on uh on the web on the websites number onethey’re.
Incredibly annoying they’re, always youknow interrupting the screen. Reader, hey clickon. This click on this click on this to enableaccessibility mode or whatever the the prompt isand. You know i’ve personally, shopped onmany many websites for years and thenall of a sudden um. They implement an excessiveyou, know in air quoties, an accessibility widgetlike and now i’m unable to shopnow.
I’M you know, i can’t do simple things and you know so: it’s it’s it’sreally, accessibility, snake oil, justthey just don’t work. It’S frustratingit has a layer of complexityit takes away from the userexperience um on multiple levels: jason. Did we um? Did we lose you? No.
I just didthe rookie mistake of uh went on mute, i’m sorryi, guess: okay, i’m back um. So, let’s, let’s talk aboutlike what what we would recommend! You know your uhyour early activity is when you receive a legalcomplaint um and then also what we feel that youcould do rapidly um to put yourself in a bettersituation right now, both on the accessibilityfront and and the legal front and the legal frontso. Let’S talk about the first thing, so i talkedabout that these demand letters and lawsuits arebeing filed by a very small number of plaintiffsum. You know give you an example: there’sabout 25 30 plaintiff lawyers activein this space um, but there’s probablyaround about a thousand um active adalawyers defense lawyers um, because you knowessentially, you know lots.
A lot of differentcompanies are a suit um. What you’ll find is thata lot of these and we actually produce a coupleof lists of like the top 10 plaintiffs top 10plaintiffs lawyers, actually tanner tanner keepsa list of what we classed as sort of you knowour. You know our well-known uh ada law firmsthat, we work with and lawyers that we work within partnership and what we, what we tend to expectthose people to do and know is, they know yourindustry, so they have clients that are like youthey’ve dealt with not just demand. Lettersor lawsuits, but ones which come from thatthe same one, that you’re getting it fromum, because that will give you a heads up. Onyou know what what’s going to be the nextstep: what what’s their typical process: ofof negotiating um?
What could we? What what can webe preparing for help uh to help us negotiate orfor help us to to show that we’re going to defendthis, you know and and we’re going to go to courtis it? Is it worth fighting uh? You know how howmuch stomach do these guys have for taking itto the long haul? So you know finding uh findingan ada lawyer that can give you heads up on whatyou should expect um over the next, like coupleof months or six months of the case right um ithink is uh.
You know a great first step for youto get. Even if you have your own in-house counselyou know these these people specialize and knowthe plaintiff firms um and how they operate. Umand then the uh. The other thing is, you know, um iwould be contacting my website vendor. You know, ifyou had that website built by somebody um.
You knowif you’ve uh. If you’ve got a technical team thatbuilt the website um, you need to sort of be likeheads up. You know, we’ve got this legal action whatdid we do. What have we done um and then what youwant to do is you want to start collecting? If anyas much documentation as you can, that’s goingto give your legal team.
You know some teethum when they say to a to a plaintiff. This is athis is a false claim. Um we take this seriouslywe we’ve done this. We’Ve done this activity. Umyou know: we’ve spent.
You know we we’ve investedin, this we’ve invested in that. So you know, youyou want to be collecting documentation to helpyour legal team with the initial negotiationsor initial pushback um, if that’s the recommendedroute by your sort of uh internal legalteam, plus an external ada defense lawyerum. Looking at what you could do practically ifyou’re more on the technical side um, if we goto the next slide bethany, if you’re thinkinghey i want to you know, i want to make sure ohactually. Sorry, let’s uh want one slide: beforethat um. How do we think this is gon na uh affect uh 2020 right?
This is how do you think it’s gonnaaffect 2021. I just wanted to give you a couple. Ofpredictions um, you know one is um. The doj willprobably become more active again in cases umthere’s. Actually, a good couple of articles on thiswhere, you know they’ve, obviously been very quietuh during the uh, the admit.
The last administrationand this administration, they’re, going to probablybe um, have have more of a duty to sort of join inand um join on the side of cases which they thinkhave got merit um. I don’t think you’ll you’llsee them joining in on lots of these sort, ofuh volume ones, but there’s there’s there’sother interesting, um cases out there whichare more traditional advocate groupsyou, know identifying. You know reallyimportant lifestyle activity like so remoteworking uh technology, um, educational technologyum, things like uh, h, r payroll technology, so youknow stuff that we take for granted is accessibleum, it’s pretty hard and not accessible, and i thinkyou’re gon na find the doj you know pushing on someof Those areas – finance, education, um, you know thesethese – are these – are like life, important areas, forthe doj to sort of probably uh push its pressureon um vendors and web agencies. Actually i couldget down at tata to talk here. Um.
You know what’sthe interest level. Now. What do you see in webagencies sort of provide as part of accessibilityum? What are they doing with accessibility, nowyeah uh? Definitely – and i also too just want to uhfollow up on a little bit to that that previouspoint that you just mentioned for anybody.
Thatdoesn’T know. You know the current administrationhas committed to you know american signlanguage interpreters at all press conferencesand committed to bringing the the white housewebsite to 2.1 double a standards so 2021 and inthe future things are going to be changing underthis administration with regards to accessibilityand inclusion for digital accessibility And thatand the doj is likely going to get um involvedat a higher jason’s point um, but for um you knowthe web agencies and the consultancies for digitalaccessibility um. What we’re helping them with isyou know helping them with that unique sellingpoint, where you know how to increase the billingum revisiting their current clients and beingproactive to test and remediate that and showthem um show them how to how to do so. Excuse mehow to help their clients larger enterpriseclients that have a b to b or b to g play andhow to be how to create competitive advantage, inthat process um to navigate more sophisticatedprocurement uh systems and channels, so thatthey stand out or amongst um other competitionand, and really You know again helping themincrease top line, making those customers stickierand doing additional work, while also protecting umtheir clients from legal risk.
You know the the webagencies and consultancies that have a portfolioof business, who don’t get litigation, are goingto get more business than the web agencies thatare, whose clients are constantly getting suedthat just is what it is. So the other thing thati think you’ll see this year is you’ll, see moremore attempts to define um the uh, the technicalaccessibility standards under the ada therewas, an attempt at the end of last sessionum, with the online accessibility act, billum, which didn’t uh, get traction uh. You know mainlymainly, probably because there’s too much going onbut but prominently because the the disabilityadvocacy groups out there actually aren’tnecessarily super excited about uh needing to uhto to tie down the ada any more than it’s beingused right now. So you know advocacy groups arereasonably happy with the doj statements. Aroundthe websites and apps are subject to the currentada um they’re, reasonably happy that they’ve gotlegal recourse quote quite quickly to enforce thatada um or at least legal threats.
Um and i don’tthink you’ll find many advocacy groups. Looking toum, you know, put a lot of effort into um what areyou know limiting the technical standards, underthe ada and also there’s a lot of confusion. Thatwill come with sort of like what is the standardshould, it be 2 0, double a which is in the section508 or well. The white house just went with 2.1double a should it be 2.
double a oh there’sa, but then, if everyone doesn’t know, there’s athere’s a new standard called 3.0 due out in thenext two years that just got its first draft. Outso you’ve got two years of people talking abouta new standard, and then it becomes very hard umfor you to sort of lock down on what you know. Whatis accessibility, but i i believe by what i whati’ve sort of what we’ve tried to sort of tell youwhat’s happening out. There leads me to say if youdo the following and if we bring up the next slideif you do the following: you’re going to makeyour websites and apps, more accessible right, andyou’re, going to protect yourself a lot more on thelegal front.
So the first thing you need to do iswhat is digital channels. What what can people testwithout us, giving them a username and passwordum? That’S the stuff that you should care aboutthe, most so websites, apps um. You know video stuffstuff, that’s out there in the public domain. Andthat can be tested without needing a usernameand password um prioritize that get get a listtogether right um.
I would personally you knowtwo things. You know we we, we always recommendthat. The first thing you want to do: get get ablind user, which is the typical user. That’S youknow suing people and make sure they can do thetasks that you expect a user to do if they can’tyou pretty much know you’re in trouble and youshould do something about it. Um, if they can you’vegot great documentation, that you can push back onany legal claims, because you’ve got your you’vegot, your user, that could complete the tasks thatthe legal claims saying they couldn’t completethe task.
So you’ve got great documentationif you’re in a good shape um if you’re, not ina good shape, you’ve actually got something touse with your team to get them motivated. Theycan, see an actual. You know end users who can’tcomplete the tasks, help helps build sort of umuh help build momentum inside the organizationum. We typically say: take your top 10 pagesor. You know the top 10 areas of your websiteand test them for automatic issues as wellso.
If you combine those two, the reason, isokay uh, a a plaintiff lawyer, might test ahundred pages or a thousand pages, but actuallyif you clear up most of your issues on your top 10pages you’re, going to clear up your issues on youron, your navigation, your headers, your footers Yourcon common elements like carousels and you’regoing to be in a far better shape, but means thatall of your pages are going to test a lot betteradd that to the user, tester and now you’vegot. Well, we’re pretty sure that people canactually complete the task with screen readers andwe’re. Pretty good on these automatic testing thatthese people use and which you know if you, if youdo clean up you’re, going to create a better moreaccessible place for people to to visit um andyou’re, going to be in a in a far better placeum. If, of course, when you do those first, two thingsyou’ve got issues, you need to create a remediationplan and you need to get. You know commitmentfor that either from your vendor that built thewebsite um your internal team, that’s building thewebsite um, but you need to get the prioritizationof.
This done, and obviously things like thesewebinars and these lawsuit numbers and stuff thatshould help you sort of get the internal um uhsort of commitment to sort of take this seriouslyum and then we’ll do a quick sort of complete andverify. If you, if you felt you had to do work, dothe work document, you’ve done the work documentbut, it’s good, so you know find out what you needto do, get yourself in a good place and then thefinal thing is set up a way for you to stay in Agood place – and i say this because most websitesaren’t built by the company that pays for itum most websites are built by vendors uh, you knowthere’s content can come from different. Placesum updates are happening all the time. So what youwant is a good process in place that allows you tocheck but everything’s staying in a good place? Andif, it’s not in a good place.
You know who’s goingto have to fix it um. So essentially you know atusable. Now, if you go to the last slide, we sort ofwe break that down into a a three-point journeyum. If you can progress to one more slide bethany, so we sort of break that down. As i talked aboutyou know stage, one is know what you need to doso.
Get some user testers in you know test testthe, sort of core component of your websites likenavigation and your top pages. Um know what youneed to do then get into the remediation stage. Getget your teams up and running, and we help wehelp teams do the work. We can also do the workfor clients um, but basically get yourself ina good place and then keep yourself in a goodplace. So a very simple one: two three strategyis know what you need to do.
Get yourself in agood place. Keep yourself in a good place. I knowwe run a little late, so i want to go to questionsum bethany. Do you have a couple to pull to startwith um? Yes, okay!
So how do i get on the lawyer umlawyer partner list? I think that’s an easyanswer, tana yeah, just email me i’ll, get you thereand yep. If there’s a customer who islooking to get connected with thatlawyer partner list, you can also email meand. I can help you figure that out as well. Okay um.
How do we split up accessibilityresponsibilities with our agencyyeah? That’S a good one. We actually have um wehave a blog that we’ve written around sort oflike, how you’d write a clause into a contractwith, a vendor like a web agency. So, like howwould, you write an accessibility clause and whatyou might need to take in consideration meaningprimarily if you’re working with a web agencya lot of the time, they’re responsible for thesite the structure and your team might beresponsible for the content. So you need tobe honest about that.
You need to be clear up frontum, you know we, we need you to be responsible, foryou, know, navigation, uh, this user flow thistype of activity and and our team will bemaking sure that you know video that gets addedif we’re adding video. It has captions if we’readding images as all tags and at the sametime i’ll you know, throw in some trainingfor your internal teams, if for thethings that they’re responsible for do you think that wcag 3.0will have a grace period, oneyear or more for implementation and enforcement uh? Well, the way that the the way that i’ve seenthe wcag standards evolve over the years, isthere’s no real need for a grace period, becausethere’s sort of a conformance level um, the onlytime that you would need a grace period, isif uh, a standard is attached to for examplea Law, so you know in the same way as wch wcga 2 0Double a is sort of now attached to section 508 ithink when it was updated. There was a grace periodto go from old, section 508 to wcag um.
I i don’tsee the wcag 3.0 being added to any laws quicklyum. So i don’t think you have to worry about. Thatand in general, everything you do in 2.0.
Doublea will put you in a good place for 3.0 they’renot, throwing away the need for all tags they’renot, throwing away the need for well well: wellstructured headers they’re not thrown away any ofthe sort of uh. You know: accessibility, principlesthey’re, really only changing around some of theways. You might be able to some of the terminologysome of the scoring they’re alsotrying to extend those principlesbeyond just web and into native apps, so youcan. You can use the same guidelines to saysay a website and an app have a similartype of uh, of conformance to the wcagi.
Don’T know yeah of course, of course, yeah yeahso i mean and then for our friends in canadayou know there there may be some type of graceperiod like what we’re experiencing right nowum. You know, and they extended that graceperiod but um to jason’s point is reallyjust focus on the current standards and that’sgoing to best set you up to be prepared for 3.0 great um. We got a couple questions on the videosuh one of them. We got a couple times if a websiteor app links out to or embeds a video from youtubedoes that video have to have closed captioning oris that the responsibility of youtube or thecreator of the video.
What are we seeing in thelaw of suits? Does it specify uh well yeah it’sa, it’s a it’s a gray area i’ll, give you thatum, i’m not a lawyer um. If you’re, you know, umyou’ll see a lot of different things: you’llsee new sites right so you’ll see new sites. Adda disclosure up in front of the link such as thatwhich is you know, bbc, for example, ifyou’re on the bbc, and you click on a videowhich is on twitter on youtube, itwill, say: um. Bbc is not responsible for bloody content right um, so the best way youcan do is, if you know if, if it is third partycontent um put little mini disclaimers, anytimethat you’re using those types of links outif, it’s your content on youtube, thenclearly, you’re responsible for itum, because It’S actually your content, um youknow and again part of me would say that you knowyou almost want to be making sure thatlike you’re also walking the walk which isyou know when you select content, um and youfeel like you might be giving an advantage.
Tothat content, you might want to say to them: welli can’t use you. I want to use your content, but ican’t use it unless it’s captioned um, so you alsohave the ability to sort of communicate but it’simportant that they get captioned um, but that’smy sort of general position. If you want to be safeanytime that you worry about going to athird-party content, i i would put a littlemini disclaimer on that you’re, not responsible, forthird-party content, yeah especially be careful. Ifthose videos are instructional and they add to theuser experience in any way. Even if it’s not yourcontent, if those are instructional videos makesure that you got your you’re buttoned up on that okay great well, we are at a little pastone o’clock and i want to be considerate ofeveryone’s time and thank everyone.
Forjoining today i do have the ability to pull uma report of all the questions that were askedduring the session and i’ll send those on to ourpresenters, jason and tanner so that they canreach out to everyone directly and make surethat your questions are answered. We reallyappreciate the level of engagement. I knowit’s a pretty competitive, webinar landscape outthere right now, so we really appreciate everyoneuh joining today. This session was recorded if youhave a couple minutes. Please fill out the surveylet us know how we did um and i guess i’ll turnit over to jason.
If you have any final thoughtsyeah, i just wanted to double down on whatyou said: there’s about 31 questions in theqa area, where tanner and i will take our timeand and make sure we get back to each one ofyou um, because we do appreciate you being onthe call And we do appreciate you um sendingin, the questions yeah that coach here thank youeverybody for your time and consideration here great, thank you and withthat. The webinar is now ended.