Accessibility in the News—01/27/17.
Established pre-internet, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t explicitly require non-government websites be accessible—does it? In this issue, several industry publications—for home care, retail, banking, for example—are raising that flag with readers. Some educate and inform, others warn, but the general message is the same: digital accessibility is a real business issue. Left unaddressed, an inaccessible online presence could be courting ADA accessibility litigation.
Others are already in the middle of or on the other side of accessibility litigation. Seyfarth Shaw reports that 250+ website and application ADA accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2016. Lexology reports that 19% of community banks have received a demand letter according to a recent Independent Community Bankers of America survey. This week’s stories include one settlement involving a restaurant’s inaccessible mobile app and online portal.
But is all this time with our digital devices good for our vision, anyway? One study says too much screen time could result in vision loss…
Finally, the Broadway production, “Hamilton,” is getting questioned about it’s lack of accommodation for production goers who are visually impaired. Meanwhile, as we head toward the Superbowl, let’s talk football: check out how Orlando’s Pro Bowl is meeting the needs of young sports fans with autism.
AITN Quote of the Week
The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
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School Website Gets Update for Accessibility
1/19 | Source: The Gazette-Virginian | Education, Digital Accessibility, Section 504, ADA, Title II, Compliance | Virginia, United States
In an effort to eliminate any existing accessibility barriers among students with impairments and/or disabilities, Halifax County Public School System’s website is being updated. For the past couple of weeks, the school system’s website, www.Halifax.k12.va.us, has displayed the message to its visitors: “This website is in the process of being updated to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
But, according to Director of Instructional Technology and Division Testing Dr. Jeanie Hawks, the process has been in the works for months, and she said Halifax County isn’t the only school division ensuring compliance…
2017 Predictions for Web Accessibility: The Start of This Decade’s Great Inclusive Initiative
1/20 | Source: Home Care | Digital Accessibility, Marketing, Business, WCAG 2.0, DOJ, ADA, Health/Medical, Higher Education | United States
It’s a new year, and with it comes a whole new set of challenges for marketing your business online. One of the largest and most unclear challenges is that of web accessibility. Around this time in 2016, many of you were hearing about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for the first time, sparked by an announcement made by the Department of Justice that they were planning to adopt WCAG 2.0 AA standards as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ultimately, this means web accessibility will be a requirement for all business websites. Here are my predictions for website accessibility in 2017…
Website Accessibility Epidemic Reaches Arizona
1/22 | Source: The National Law Review | Website Accessibility Litigation, Digital Accessibility, ADA, Title III, Business | Arizona and Texas, United States
It was only a matter of time until the flood of litigation over the accessibility of websites to persons with disabilities reached Arizona. Recently it did when an Arizona man and his attorney filed lawsuits against four Arizona businesses alleging that their websites are not accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA). All of the lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Joseph Charles on behalf of James Close, who claims to be a resident of Texas and legally blind. Charles and Close also sued several Arizona hotels in June of 2016, alleging that Close encountered barriers to access in their parking lots…
How Retailers Can Steer Clear of ADA Accessibility Lawsuits
1/23 | Source: Retail Dive | Retail, ADA, Digital Accessibility, Website Accessibility Litigation, Blindness/Visually Impairments | United States
Core retail technologies can present accessibility problems for shoppers who are blind or visually impaired. But merchants can reduce the risk of legal action. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), first enacted in 1990, generally requires that retailers — as “places of public accommodation” — provide access for those with disabilities to the goods and services offered. In recent years, retailers have been hit with multiple lawsuits, most on behalf of customers who are blind or visually impaired, seeking to apply the ADA to their use of a range of core technologies including:..
Don’t Underestimate the Catastrophic Impact That the Trump Administration’s Policies Will Have on People With Disabilities
1/23 | Source: American Civil Liberties Union | Government, Politics, Health Care, ACA, Disabilities | United States
On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Finance Committee. During his confirmation hearing, he will almost certainly be grilled about the radical changes to our health care infrastructure that he and Trump intend to implement, but senators should make it a point to dig deep into how the administration’s proposals will endanger the lives of people with disabilities.
We already know that Price supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a law that includes numerous protections for people with disabilities. For example, the ACA ensures insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions — such as people with disabilities — and makes certain that individuals with disabilities are not priced out of coverage or denied health care after pricey hospital stays…
ADA Title III Lawsuits Increase by 37 Percent in 2016
1/23 | Source: Seyfarth Shaw | ADA, Title III, Website Accessibility Litigation, Digital Accessibility | United States
The number of federal ADA Title III lawsuits continue to surge, fueled by new plaintiffs, new plaintiffs’ lawyers, and website accessibility claims. Our 2016 lawsuit count is complete, and the results no less remarkable than prior years. In 2016, 6,601 ADA Title III lawsuits were filed in federal court — 1,812 more than in 2015. This 37 percent increase continues the upward trend in the number of filings, which we’ve been tracking since 2013. In 2015, there were 8 percent more Title III lawsuits filed than in 2014…
Orlando’s Pro Bowl will Set Precedent for Being ‘Autism-Friendly’
1/23 | Source: Orlando Sentinel | Sports/Athletics, Cognitive, Autism | Florida, United States
In what’s being called a first for a professional sports league, the NFL will make Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Orlando “autism-friendly” — offering young fans on the autism spectrum noise-canceling headphones, stress-relief squeeze toys and a safe room, should they need it.
“Our goal is to make the game as family-friendly as possible,” said Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility. “We want to see if this is something the fans take advantage of and, if so, whether we can extended it to the Super Bowl and perhaps share it with the rest of the league.”
Working with A-OK Autism, based in Tulsa, Okla., the league will offer “Sensory Sacks” at Camping World Stadium to anyone who wants them. The kits contain the headphones and a stress-relief toy as well as identification stickers and badges kids can wear to help others recognize that they may behave differently or lack the ability to speak…
Ed Roberts, the Disability Rights Movement, and the ADA
1/23 | Source: Google Arts & Culture | ADA, Advocacy | United States
This exhibit celebrates just some of the many groups and people who made the ADA possible, explores how and why it was passed, and concludes by looking at some of the major challenges we’re facing now. The ADA changed America, but there is a lot of work left to be done.
Ableism – the oppression and discrimination against people with disabilities – has always been with us. Despite centuries of isolation, segregation, violence, incarceration, and institutionalization, people with disabilities have always existed and have always resisted.
In 1952, after Ed Roberts contracted polio, the doctors told his family he’d probably spend the rest of his life as “a vegetable.” Later, Roberts joked, “If I’m a vegetable, I’m going to be an artichoke, prickly on the outside, with a big heart in the middle.” With a combination of big heart, sharp words, and ferocious commitment to equality, Roberts helped create the disability rights movement as we know it today…
How Apps and Websites Can Make Sure They Comply with Accessibility Guidelines
1/24 | Source: arc | Digital Accessibility, Compliance, W3C, WCAG
In the (nearly) 10 years since the W3C laid out its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG), assistive technology has become a standard feature for leading device manufacturers. The difference between usability and accessibility has become more defined with developers often leaving accessibility testing to the very last minute … if at all.
On the plus side, the WCAG guidelines have given companies an idea of what they should be doing in terms of making a website or app accessible. The underlying core of the guidelines is that all information and any user interface components must be presented in such a way that anybody can use or access that content, irrespective of individual disabilities…
Accessibility Isn’t Just a Political Tool
1/24 | Source: The Silhouette | Higher Education, Campus Accessibility | Ontario, Canada
“Classroom and campus accessibility is an essential part of student life, as well as a priority in the long term advocacy plan. For candidates who do not include accessibility in their platforms, why not, and to those who did, what research or consultation did you do?”
Every year, accessibility becomes more and more of a buzzword in McMaster Students Union politics. It becomes this catch-all term for when you need a catchy way to market yourself as a good person. I’d like to try and disambiguate what this word truly means in a McMaster setting, why it matters and why our six candidates for MSU president simply don’t get it…
The Girl Behind the Sparkle-Shooting Prosthetic Arm Is Just Getting Started
1/24 | Source: Fast Company | Innovation, Personal Account, Technology , 3-D Printing, Prosthetics | Missouri, United States
While showing off the sparkle-shooting prosthetic arm that made her an internet sensation, 11-year-old Jordan Reeves has a glitter emergency. Over video chat from her home in Columbia, Mo., Jordan accidentally spills glitter all over her keyboard while loading the attachment. Her mom, Jen, in a restrained panic, comes in but Jordan plays it cool.
“I’m sorry,” she says, but quickly returns to showing off her next big thing.
The last 10 months have been a whirlwind for Jordan, who was born with a left arm that stops just above the elbow. After Fast Company first wrote about Jordan’s sparkle-shooting arm last March, she’s presented it at events all around the country, including a trip to Disney World, where she won the Dream Big, Princess award. Autodesk and Dremel gave her a 3D printer to use at home, and Awesome Without Borders chipped in $1,000 for filament…
Global Epidemic of Blindness on the Horizon, Experts warn: Hours Spent Staring at Screens will Rob Millions of Their Sight Decades Early
1/24 | Source: Daily Mail | Aging, Blindness/Visual Impairments, Technology, Health/Medical
Experts warn we face a global epidemic of blindness if we continue to spend hours you spend staring at a screen. The high energy light emitted from digital screens is causing irreversible damage to our eyes by deteriorating the retinas. Damage to the retinas – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye – is the biggest cause of central blindness.
And a new report warns ‘it is now clearer than ever that we are facing a global epidemic’ of sight loss – particularly for the millions of children who are exposed to digital screens earlier than ever. Lead researcher Dr Celia Sanchez-Ramos said: ‘It is paramount for adults and parents to act now and protect themselves from further damage.’…
Summary of the Guidance Issued by ICBA on ADA Accessibility for Websites
1/24 | Source: Lexology | Digital Accessibility, Banking, ADA, DOJ, WCAG, Compliance, Website Accessibility Litigation | United States
The Independent Community Bankers of America (“ICBA”) reached out to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) asking for guidance regarding whether the DOJ will adopt the standards in the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”). The DOJ stated that although it has not yet adopted the WCAG standards, it is leaning toward adopting the standards. Furthermore, the DOJ stated that in its view, ADA requirements to provide accessible technology is an “already-existing obligation” and compliance is expected unless a business can prove an undue burden.
The ICBA’s survey found that 19% of community banks had received a demand letter about ADA compliance of the bank’s website. As of December 6, 2016, banks have taken the following responses upon receiving such a demand letter:..
How to Design Websites for People with Disabilities in 2017
1/25 | Source: Digital Arts | Digital Accessibility, Accessibility Resources, Equality Act, Web Design | United Kingdom
The disabled community can easily be neglected when it comes to online user experience (UX) or mobile app interface design. But despite preconceived ideas, designing with disabled consumers at the forefront of innovation will make a product even more accessible to the wider public.
For any web designer it’s important to understand where web accessibility for people with disabilities is failing, why it’s important to improve standards, and why it’s beneficial to everyone beyond moral motives. We explore the current areas where web interfaces struggle to cater to people with mild, moderate and serious disabilities, and offer steps that provoke inclusive thinking and designing. We also suggest organizations to turn to for testing and further advice.
But before moving on it’s important to define exactly who is included in the disabled community. The definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 is when someone has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities…
Innovative Salad Restaurant Agrees to Make Website and Mobile App Accessible
1/25 | Source: JD Supra | Digital Accessibility, Food Service, Accessibility Litigation, Blind/Visually Impaired, ADA | New York, United States
Being named one of the most innovative companies of 2016 doesn’t make one immune from a website and mobile app accessibility lawsuit. Capping 2016’s banner accessibility lawsuit count, including record website accessibility lawsuit numbers, on which we reported yesterday, was an end-of-the-year settlement between innovative local-sourcing salad restaurant Sweetgreen, Inc. and two blind individuals, on behalf of other similarly-situated individuals.
The settlement concluded a lawsuit filed on March 2, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which alleged that Sweetgreen discriminated against the plaintiffs due to an online ordering portal and mobile app that were not accessible in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law…
Broadway Hit ‘Hamilton’ is Sued over Services for Blind Theatergoers
1/25 | Source: Yahoo News | Performing Arts, Blind/Visually Impaired, ADA Accessibility Litigation | New York, United States
The producer of “Hamilton” has been sued by a blind theatergoer who claimed that the blockbuster Broadway musical violates federal law by failing to offer services to help blind and visually impaired people enjoy the show. In his complaint on Monday, Denver resident Mark Lasser said Hamilton Uptown LLC and Nederlander Organization, which runs the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan where “Hamilton” is performed, could easily provide live audio narratives to help visually impaired people follow stage action between songs.
But Lasser said the theater refuses to offer such narratives, which can be listened to with headphones so other patrons will not be disturbed. He said this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, and “will continue to deter blind and visually impaired people from attending musicals.”…
Settlement Agreement between the United States of America and Overlake Medical Center
1/25 | Source: Overlake Medical Center | ADA, Litigation, Settlement, Health/Medical, Deaf/Hearing Impaired | Washington, United States
The parties (“Parties”) to this Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) are the United States of America (“United States”) and Overlake Medical Center. Overlake Medical Center is a hospital that provides inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, located at 1035 116th Avenue NE, Bellevue, Washington. Overlake Medical Center has a Childbirth Center that offers labor and delivery services, including cesarean procedures and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
This matter was initiated by a letter of investigation provided to Overlake Medical Center on August 3, 2015, regarding potential violations by Overlake Medical Center of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, and the Department of Justice’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36. The investigation was opened in response to complaints raised by Complainant, who is Deaf and uses American Sign Language (“ASL”) as her primary means of communication. Complainant was a patient at Overlake Medical Center from June 5 to June 8, 2014 for a planned, induced delivery of her second child. Complainant alleges that despite making a timely, advanced request for an ASL interpreter, Overlake Medical Center failed to provide qualified sign language interpretive services during the initial interactions with medical staff related to her induction of labor as well as an eventual cesarean procedure and recovery from that procedure.
Government Regulations: Sometimes the Feds Get It Absolutely Right
1/26 | Source: Star Tribune | Government, Section 508, Digital Accessibility, Innovation | United States
A little-known requirement tucked into the Americans with Disabilities Act has paid dividends to computer entrepreneurs. I read with interest that “Some firms hope for end to Obama-backed rules” (Jan. 23, Business) regarding work required for compliance with federal regulations.
One fellow was quoted as saying he spends 10 hours a week on compliance. Although there was no explanation for what the work actually was, it really sounded like a burden for him and his company. I suddenly thought, I guess I have to do the same thing; not every week, but some weeks it is way more than 10 hours. I’m a software engineer and build user interfaces. Part of the demands of my job is to ensure that my components satisfy something called Section 508…
Will Disability Rights Have a Permanent Place in the White House?
1/26 | Source: Pacific Standard | Government/Politics, Personal Account | Washington, D.C., United States
The White House Office of Public Engagement, known as the Office of Public Liaison before 2009, is supposed to provide everyone in America with a voice in a given administration. If you belong to any kind of group, there is (or should be) a community liaison at the office — someone in the OPE tasked with understanding your needs and issues, knowing the administration’s position and policies, and facilitating conversations among the various parts of the government and between the government and the public.
From May of 2015 until early January of this year, the disability community turned to Maria Town, a senior associate director at the OPE. Town, a woman from Louisiana with cerebral palsy, went to college at Emory University, where she worked with some of the nation’s leading scholars in disability studies, and from there launched a career in policy and advocacy. She’s just about to turn 30, and, thanks to her work with the Obama administration, has become one of the disability rights community’s most visible leaders…
- Belmont Savings Bank
- Daisy Consortium
- Taco Cabana
- Santa Fe Public Schools
- VPAT Information for DbProtect (Section 508)
- Google Access- Twitter
Accessibility Product Releases and Announcements
- Help us improve the Guardian website’s accessibility
- Accessibility Section 508- (Subscription-based)
- Launch of APPTOURYOU Free Online Tourism Accessibility Training
- Manchester United confirms stadium accessibility plans
- Clever “copilot” controller mode launches in latest Xbox guide update
- Is Jotform compliant with WCAG 2.0, Section 508 and the Equality Act 2010?
- WordPress WCAG 2.0 level AA Compliance
- State of Idaho Launches Redesigned Official Website at Idaho.gov
- Sasol conducts accessibility awareness and audit training
- Time to Review Accessible Information Standard
- Ramping up accessibility in Cambridge
- Southern committed to railway accessibility
- SLC to improve accessibility
Microassist Accessibility Services
Outlining a host of accessibility-related services, Microassist Accessibility Services: Barrier-Free Digital Development, provides background on Microassist expertise and the various offerings available for digital content and platforms. Services cover accessible elearning, website and application development, accessibility audit services and accessibility remediation services across various formats.
Please contact us for any questions you have about our accessibility services and how we might support your organization.
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