Accessibility in the News—10/20/16
In this issue of Accessibility in the News (AITN), web accessibility lawsuits hit community banks and retail (not even the Kardashians are immune). Ride share apps are also being deemed inaccessible. The Web Content Accessibility Working Group is seeking input on WCAG 2.1 (in order to build on current web accessibility standards). Tips for making college admissions are included this issue, as well as another story on undergraduates designing a video game version of Goal Ball for those with visual impairments.
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Building without barriers: Calgary’s Access Design Standards
10/06 | Source: Calgary City News
When you think about accessibility, what comes to mind? A person in a wheelchair? A person with vision impairment?
What most of us may not realize is that accessibility is important for everyone and designing accessible buildings is key to creating a city for everyone to enjoy. Consider a mom with a stroller faced with a staircase, or an elderly person trying to open a door. We need to design buildings without barriers – and that’s exactly what The City’s Access Design Standards are meant to do…
Wave of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Grows, Community Bankers Threatened
10/10 | Source: The D&O Diary
In a prior post, I noted concerns over lawsuits filed under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to website accessibility. I noted at the time that a court holding that a website violated the ADA’s public accommodation accessibility requirement likely would lead to an increase in litigation involving website accessibility. As I suspected might happen, this increase has now materialized. Indeed, according to a September 29, 2016 post on the ADA Title III News and Insights blog (here), website accessibility lawsuits “have become big business” for a number of plaintiffs’ law firms.
According to the ADA Title III blog post, between January 1, 2015 and September 21, 2016, there have been 106 lawsuits filed alleging that individuals with disabilities are being denied access to a business’s goods and services due to its allegedly inaccessible website. More than half of these lawsuits have been filed against companies in the retail sector. The next most frequently hit lawsuit targets are companies in the restaurant business. The other lawsuits have been filed against companies in a wide range of other businesses…
Website Accessibility Tips for College Admissions
10/11 | Source: Systems Alliance, Inc
Imagine a high school student who is blind or has a physical disability, who was planning a campus visit. You would expect the college or university to accommodate any challenge or limitation that student might face, and work to make sure they had the support they needed. There would be accessible parking spaces in the lots. Buildings would include wheelchair ramps and elevators. Tour guides would be quick to offer additional assistance to meet the individual’s unique needs.
Now imagine that same student’s experience with the school’s admissions website. If the website was designed using best practices for web accessibility, people who are blind or have low vision could use a screen reader to “view” the content and easily navigate across the site. People who are deaf or hard of hearing could read on-screen captions for videos. People with physical disabilities could use keyboard navigation or mouse alternatives to interact with the content…
Could these accessibility-minded Drexel game designers inspire a worldwide tournament?
10/12 | Source: Technically/Philly
A team of Drexel seniors built a video game version of goalball, a sport designed for people who are blind or visually impaired, and landed a Philly Geek Award nomination for it. Their advisor has big plans for the game.
The video game uses recorded audio that mimics a real goalball game and a vibrating controller which allows players to navigate the virtual court with these auditory and tactile cues. As they developed it, the team tested their game with students from West Philly’s Overbrook School for the Blind. The idea for the game actually came from an Overbrook student, according to a Geekadelphia report…
WCAG 2.1 under exploration, comments requested by November 1st
10/12 | Source: Daisy Consortium
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group announced a plan to develop WCAG 2.1, which builds on but does not supersede WCAG 2.0. The group would like input from stakeholders on this plan.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 became a W3C Recommendation on December 11th, 2008. It has been one of the major resources for making web content accessible to users with disabilities. WCAG has been referenced by accessibility policies of many countries and organizations, translated into twenty languages, and it has become an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012)…
Project to check hospitals’ accessibility launched
10/15 | Source: Boston Standard
The trust which runs Pilgrim Hospital is holding a series of events to get feedback on the accessibility of its services. The events are hosted by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust working with national not for profit organisation DisabledGo.
Visitors, patients and staff will be able to find out more about the accessibility of hospital buildings and services with a new project call an ‘accessibility checker’. The online resource will be completely free to use and is being created by DisabledGo.
Patient experience manager at ULHT Sharon Kidd said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DisabledGo to produce the new online accessibility guides for all of our hospitals…
Federal Government invests more than R $ 75 million in accessibility of museums
10/15 | Source: InvestinBrazil
Ministry of Tourism bet on adaptations to enable exhibitions with audio description and Pounds. About 45 million Brazilians have some kind of disability, which corresponds to 23.9% of the country’s population, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). Of these, 3.6% have visual impairment and 1.1% hearing loss. This is a significant portion of people who still live with little access to most cultural products offered in museums and exhibitions.
The Ministry of Tourism has invested in recent years more than R $ 75 million in accessibility works, in addition to supporting the qualification and training of professionals to meet tourists with disabilities. Therefore, inclusion experiences through skilled care in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) and audio description equipment and tactile for the blind or people with low vision have shown the importance of accessible tourism…
Kardashians’ Dash Store Sued for Discrimination
10/16 | Source: Yahoo
Amid an already rough time for the Kardashian family, one of their businesses is facing a unique lawsuit. The family’s Dash clothing chain, which has shops in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, is being sued for allegedly discriminating against blind customers online.
Andres Gomez has brought a lawsuit against Dash for being inaccessible to visually impaired customers. Gomez, who is legally blind, uses JAWS screen-reader software to access the Internet and says the Dash website is incompatible. While to some, that may just sound like an inconvenience, Gomez contends that it is illegal. Gomez and his lawyers say that it violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, and therefore the company is legally bound to make its content accessible…
ADA Compliance & Defense Lawyer: ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Escalate
10/16 | Source: Hotel Law
JMBM’s ADA Defense & Compliance team takes the ADA seriously, and we recommend that our clients take a proactive approach in identifying and solving potential problems before they become lawsuits. For many years now, we have called attention to the importance of making website ADA-compliant, but hotels, resorts, restaurants, banks, retailers and other owners and operators of commercial real estate continue to be vulnerable to one of the more recent and serious waves of ADA complaints. See Charles Schwab settles web site accessibility claim and New ADA standards for website accessibility.
Today, my partner Marty Orlick talks about a recent wave of website accessibility claims plaguing owners of commercial real estate. Be smart. Understand the problem and fix it now. This issue is not going to go away…
Web Accessibility: Why it Matters to all Retailers
10/17 | Source: Chain Store Age
More than 200 million Americans will shop online this year. Statistically, nearly 10 million of those shoppers will be visually impaired, more than 10 million will have a hearing impairment and more than four million of those will have severe limitations to their dexterity. For these shoppers, many goods and services offered online might be out of their reach.
Persons with disabilities often use assistive technology to access a website. But, if the site isn’t compatible with the hardware or software they use to surf the web, they simply cannot log in and spend. The good news is that there is a lot a retailer can do to make their site more accessible…
Ridesharing companies ask judge to toss lawsuits over blind users’ access
10/17 | Source: Austin Business Journal
Ridesharing companies Get Me LLC and RideFare LLC have asked a federal judge to dismiss lawsuits filed against them that allege their apps are inaccessible to blind users.
Two lawsuits were filed by the National Federation of the Blind of Texas against the two companies in September, focused on three blind Austin-area residents who claim they are unable to use either Get Me or Fare because the apps do not properly work with text-to-speech software or mobile braille displays like other apps. The lawsuits allege the companies are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Texas Human Resources Code, which require businesses and other public accommodations to be accessible to people with disabilities…
Addressing Accessibility for the Web
10/17 | Source: Palantire
The Americans with Disabilities Act was a landmark civil rights legislation that tore down barriers preventing individuals with disabilities from fully participating in society. This bill covered important aspects of life in the 1990s, such as public transportation and employment. A decade and a half later these things are still important, but technologies have emerged that raise new questions about how they can be made accessible for all users.
This year, I had the privilege of attending the 2016 Accessibility Summit, where presenters from organizations such as the W3 Consortium, Adobe, and WebAIM talked about ways in which we can make the web more accessible to users with disabilities such as low vision, blindness, deafness, and limited dexterity…
Ohio school, feds complete agreement in blind student’s case
10/18 | Source: Herald-Star
Federal authorities said Monday they have completed an agreement with Miami University that resolves allegations in a blind student’s lawsuit that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Justice Department, the Ohio school and Aleeha Dudley jointly filed a motion in Cincinnati asking a U.S. District Court judge to approve a consent decree requiring Miami to provide people with disabilities an “equal opportunity” to benefit from the school’s services, programs and activities.
Under the consent decree, Miami will make improvements to ensure that technologies across its campuses are accessible to individuals with disabilities, said Benjamin C. Glassman, attorney for Ohio’s southern district. He said the agreement, among other things, also requires reforms in how Miami procures technologies to ensure it meets various accessibility standards. Miami also will meet with students with disabilities who require technologies or curricular materials in alternative forms and their instructors to develop an accessibility plan…
CMS addresses website issue, Department of Education complaint
10/17 | Source: WBTV
Back in August the Department of Education received a complaint about Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District’s (CMS) website. The complaint dealt with parents who have hearing and vision disabilities. They claim they have a hard time navigating the district’s website.
“Websites are a form of communications,” Disability Resources & Rights Executive Director Julia Sain said. “The law says you have to have communications that’s effective for everybody. How do you do that?” Sain has looked at the district’s website and had some concerns with it. The first thing that jumped out at her is the contact information for people who need help understanding the website was hard to find…
4 reasons why an accessible website is a win-win
10/18 | Source: Open Source
Why do some people choose to make a website accessible? Some people are do-gooders who, like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), believe that “the web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability.” And, some people do it because they are compelled by law, based on Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities act. Most federal and state institutions require that websites are accessible to people with a variety of disabilities. Though they may want to do good, their main motivation is to avoid costly legal problems.
No matter what your motivation is, everyone benefits from creating accessible websites. Four unexpected benefits of creating accessible websites include…
Pointers for Bank Recipients of Demand Letters Asserting ADA Non-Compliance
10/18 | Source: Lexology
Community banks have recently been on the receiving end of demand letters from plaintiffs law firms alleging that the banks’ websites are in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”). Interestingly, there are currently no specific federal standards for websites under the ADA. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is in the process of developing regulations for website accessibility, but has announced it will not finalize these regulations until 2018 at the earliest. Even so, the DOJ has emphasized that businesses should make websites accessible to the disabled. While the regulations are being developed, many businesses have been applying the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA with the understanding that the DOJ has made clear that it considers a website accessible if it complies with these guidelines…
Is your website accessible to the blind and vision impaired?
10/19 | Source: Hotelier
How would you react if you received a letter from a law firm alleging that your hotel’s website is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it discriminates against persons who are visually disabled? If your reaction is to take it seriously, you would be correct.
How would you react if you discovered a near-identical letter was sent to hundreds of other hotels, restaurants and other businesses – by the same law firm? If your reaction is that you received a cookie-cutter letter by a plaintiff firm that is using a dragnet to identify possible defendants for lawsuits, you would also be correct.
How would you respond to the demand that you bring your website into compliance with international standards for web accessibility? If you respond by picking up the phone to call experienced ADA legal counsel, you will be saving time and money…
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