We live in an age of diversity and inclusiveness. But is your company website truly accessible to everyone? It’s worth thinking about because your brand reputation can be seriously damaged by those who feel excluded, and then note how offended they are via social media, or a law firm. A new technology solution has been launched to help organisations demonstrate reasonable adjustment towards digital accessibility compliance, and ward off the threat of increasingly prevalent legal action in the USA.
AAAtraq (www.aaatraq.com) is an automated compliance identification management system that allows organisations to understand their existing level of accessibility non-compliance risk exposure, and then work towards full compliance through a managed process.
The number of digital accessibility lawsuits filed against companies of all sizes in the USA increased by 183% between 2017 and 2018 , and with increasing media scrutiny, those numbers are expected to have risen substantially in 2019. In one of the more high-profile cases, Domino’s Pizza was found guilty of not making its website app accessible for use by people with visual impairments, and was forced to make adjustments to improve its user experience.
AAAtraq is a new service that wants to reverse these trends, by giving website owners a low cost, fast track route to protecting their organisations from the risks of legal action with an easy to use managed service. As well as a personalised pathway to compliance, subscribers receive an AAAtraq ‘accessibility rating’ badge that can be displayed on websites warning those looking to take legal action that they are working towards digital compliance. Complementary insurance—currently for US-based organisations—with up to a US$50,000 benefit limit from global carrier BRIT adds further protection.
AAAtraq assesses current levels of risk, provides guidance to demonstrate reasonable adjustment and enables ongoing certification. A complementary ‘risk profile’ is accessible immediately online, helping any organization to quickly understand if their website is currently compliant and the precise level of risk they face.
A monthly subscription service provides access to AAAtraq’s full managed service, which offers an automated approach to achieving ongoing compliance. This includes: a guided methodology and full digital supplier management, AI based training and education for developers and content producers, to ensure they understand their responsibilities; benchmarking and KPIs to measure improvements.
An inherent part of the non-compliance problem, according to CEO Lawrence Shaw, is that that accessibility legislation has become overly complicated. “Organisations are not deliberately non-compliant, but the level of misinformation in circulation coupled with a succession of successful legal cases in the US, has created the perfect storm,” he says.
This is because of three factors: opportunistic lawyers seeking financial rewards, digital suppliers who are not being held accountable by their clients and end user organisations who are too reliant on third party suppliers and unsure of their responsibilities according to the accessibility legislation to demonstrate ‘reasonable adjustment’.
“Digital inaccessibility lawsuits are one of the fastest growing financial risks for organisations who are literally ‘burying their heads in the sand’ because they don’t understand the accessibility legislation and mistakenly believe it is difficult and expensive to comply,” concludes Shaw.