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

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

As of 2021 — and especially when it comes to mobile accessibility — I highly recommend WCAG 2.1 …


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 incorrect. …


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 funding are also affected by Section 504. …


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. Below are more details on WCAG, ICT, and what is covered under 508.

ICT

ICT includes many things:

  • Smart phones and mobile devices
  • TVs
  • Internet and Intranet websites
  • Remote access websites and tools
  • PDF documents
  • Online training
  • Webinars and teleconferencing
  • Technical support call centers
  • Tablets, laptop and desktop computers
  • Software and operating systems
  • Copiers and…


man signing document
man signing document
VPAT requests in the private market will skyrocket in 2021.

A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) is a template that vendors fill out and deliver to procurement officers (as the material part of an ACR) to officially speak to and represent a product or service’s accessibility.

A VPAT comes into play whenever buyers and sellers are dealing with information and communications technology (ICT) products and services with accessibility features.

In the United States, a VPAT has traditionally been a document created in response to vendors contracting with government agencies under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

However, as accessibility has risen to the forefront in recent years, we can expect procurement departments to increasingly demand VPATs in the private market in 2021, particularly in B2B transactions. …


Capital Hill
Capital Hill

2020 saw Congress introduce a bill for web accessibility, the almost release of WCAG 2.2, and a class actions twist to ADA lawsuit filings.

As the calendar turns to 2021, below are the best practices for ADA web compliance as well as how the 2020 happenings above will affect the legal landscape going forward.

Best Practices for ADA Web Compliance

As the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t discuss websites or apps, best practices for ADA compliance are assembled through the evolving legal landscape (proposed legislation, court rulings, lawsuit filings, DOJ positions and filings, DOJ’s ANPRM, other laws such as Section 508).

Obviously, a best practices list isn’t ideal (we’d rather have a clear law) but if you follow the bullet points below, it’s hard to fathom how you could be liable under the ADA (or receive a non-boiler plate demand letter). …


Dollar bills
Dollar bills

I recently received the following email:

Hi Kris,

I hope this email finds you well! I wanted to reach out because I provide leads for businesses that require ADA compliance. I want to provide you with 5 free converting leads, and if they work out for you, we can discuss a business arrangement. Also, I can provide a free audit for each website to serve you some time.

If you are interested, please get in touch with me: [email redacted] to deliver to you the first 5 free leads.

After I received the email, I searched to see if I could find the genesis of the outreach and sure enough, there’s a new product called ADA Leadz and affiliate marketers are promoting it to the extreme with enthusiastic reviews. …


Caroline Desrosiers smiling brightly
Caroline Desrosiers smiling brightly

Descriptions are essential for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Whether it’s meaningful images on the web, illustrations in a comic book, displays at a museum, or another important visual, descriptions must be available.

But not just good descriptions, great ones.

Scribely CEO Caroline Desrosiers specializes in great descriptions — in fact, she’s built an entire business around delivering visual content that everyone can experience and enjoy.

“The web has formed deep roots in our daily lives — at any moment we can dive in and answer a burning question, connect with friends, study a beautiful image. Missing and inadequate descriptions block people from information and businesses from people. …


Canadian flag
Canadian flag

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has a January 1, 2021 compliance deadline for public sector and large organizations.

With the 2021 deadline, here is a summary of the key AODA requirements that concern web accessibility (e.g., websites and mobile apps) as taken from Ontario.ca full text of the regulation.

Update: Compliance Report Extension

For businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees, the deadline to file an accessibility compliance report has been extended to June 30, 2021.

Note: This deadline extension is for the compliance report, not for compliance itself.

Summary

  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 …


Capital Hill
Capital Hill

The Online Accessibility Act is a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressmen Lou Correa (D-CA) and Ted Budd (R-NC) that amends the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to “include consumer facing websites and mobile applications owned or operated by a private entity.”

I like the push for a much needed amendment to the ADA but what I hate is the bureaucratic process to file a complaint against an entity who is in non-compliance.

For this reason alone, I would banish the bill back to the drafters to be revised.

Also, section (b)(2) is bad.

But, this is generally what the United States needs: an amendment to the ADA that addresses web accessibility. …

About

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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