Accessibility Statements For Websites
The Karlin Law Firm LLP is the largest provider of ADA website defense services in the United States. In addition to defending website ADA claims and lawsuits, we provide guidance for our clients and their web developers in what needs to be modified on their websites to significantly lower their risk of being the target of an ADA website claim or lawsuit.
We have reviewed hundreds of website accessibility statements and can assist our clients and their web developers with an appropriate ADA website accessibility statement for particular website. After reviewing hundreds of these statements, it is our view that almost all such statements are problematic. In part this is because the statements are either borrowed from other websites and/or the accessibility statement is drafted in an attempt to comply with what a web developer believes is some type of legal standard. However, what is or is not required is a legal issue and not a technical issue. Often web developers falsely believe that the nongovernmental international organization, called the World Wide Web Consortium and/or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), has set a legal standard. This is not the law in the United States. In our view, web developers who are thinking that complying with such guidelines might be the law, often add an inappropriate website accessibility statement that suggests that the particular website is required to, is, or will follow these guidelines as if they were legal standards. Such an approach can place the website at higher risk of ADA website claims and lawsuits.
This page presents, or refers, and sometimes compares different types of ADA website accessibility statements. By presenting or referring to an accessibility statement we are not stating or implying that such a statement is correct, or follows some type of guidelines, or is appropriate for a particular website. In fact, some of the accessibility statements being referred to in our view can present a considerable risk if added to some websites.
The accessibility statement which we prepare for our clients are confidential and proprietary and do not appear on this page. However, we have prepared comments on areas of concern which we often take into account when assisting our clients with the preparation of their accessibility statements.
To begin, what follows is a short form sample shown by the W3C – Web Accessibility Institute (WAI), with comments embedded in the statement ===>.
The company name Karlin Law Made Up Company Inc. is, of course, a made up name.
ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT (NOT TO BE USED)
Karlin Law Made Up Company Inc. (“MadeUp Inc.”) is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and applying the relevant accessibility standards.
(COMMENT: THERE ARE A NUMBER OF POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH THIS INTRODUCTION – FOR EXAMPLE, IT SUGGESTS THAT THE COMPANY IS INSURING OR GUARANTEEING A CERTAIN LEVEL OF ACCESS – SUCH A STATEMENT MAY, UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRE THE COMPANY TO DO FAR MORE THAN WHAT IS LEGALLY REQUIRED).
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) defines requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA and Level AAA. MadeUp Inc partially conformant with WCAG 2.1 level AA. Partially conformant means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to the accessibility standard.
(COMMENT: THERE ARE NUMEROUS DANGERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH DEPENDING AGAIN ON THE COMPANY AND ITS WEBSITE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE STATEMENT THAT THE WEB CONTENT ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES (WCAG) “DEFINES” “REQUIREMENTS” CAN BE MISLEADING – IT MIGHT SUGGEST TO THE READER THAT THE COMPANY IS ADOPTING THIS AS A REQUIREMENT OR THE COMPANY’S POSITION IS THAT THIS IS A LEGAL STANDARD. THIS PARAGRAPH SUGGESTS ALSO THAT THE COMPANY HAS FAILED TO MAKE THE WEBSITE “CONFORMANT”, AGAIN AS IF THE COMPANY MIGHT BE IN VIOLATION OF A LEGAL STANDARD OR HAS NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH IN WHAT THE COMPANY MAY NEED TO DO.)
We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of MADEUP INC. Please let us know if you encounter accessibility barriers on [OUR WEBSITE]:
Phone: (XXX) XXX-XXXX
E-mail: [email protected]
Postal address: PO Box _____, ______, USA
We try to respond to feedback within 5 business days.
(COMMENT, IN OUR VIEW, THIS COMMUNICATE WITH US PARAGRAPH IS NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT, BUT IT VASTLY UNDERSTATES WHAT THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) AND MANY UNITED STATES FEDERAL COURTS HAVE SAID MIGHT BE HELPFUL AND MIGHT HELP AVOID ADA CLAIMS AND LAWSUITS. WHEN WE PREPARE ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENTS WE OFTEN SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE ACCESSIBILITY COMMUNICATION FEATURES – PROVIDING FAR GREATER COMMUNICATION ACCESSIBILITY THAN IS SUGGESTED BY THE ABOVE SAMPLE.)
If you would like assistance with your website’s Accessibility Statement, or have suggestions or comments on an accessibility statement or on this page, or if you have received an ADA website claim or lawsuit, give us a call or send us an email.
For Accessibility features of popular browsers and third-party screen readers and other devices the following is a partial reference:
For Google Products, including but not limited to:
Third Party Screen Readers
Also see general discussion of Screen Readers by the American Foundation of the Blind
Summary of above main points: Website Accessibility Statements as suggested by WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are reviewed and compared.
The Karlin Law firm represents website owners an businesses, defending ADA website lawsuits and claims. These include hundreds of ADA website lawsuits being filed in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. In California the leading filers are the Manning Law Firm out of Newport Beach, California, the Pacific Trial Attorneys in Newport Beach, California, the Wilshire Law Frim in Los Angeles, California, and claims by the Berokim Law Firm in Los Angeles, California. In Pennsylvania these cases are filed by Carlson Lynch of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Kevin Tucker with the East End Trial Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in New York, the leading filer appears to be Joseph Mizrahi (Cohen & Mizrahi) out of Brooklyn, New York. The Karlin Law Firm LLP has defended over 1,400 ADA cases and consulted on another thousand as well as performed ADA compliance oversight and recommendations.
The Karlin Law Firm LLP can provide an accessibility statement for particular websites, along with the proper use of a communication feature and the appropriate use of a website accessibility plug-in. Businesses and some web developers are often confused regarding what needs to be done, sometimes looking to plug-ins such as Userway.org and Accessible (Accessible.com) for assistance. However, while these may have some use, they cannot in any way substitute to make a website WCAG compliant. The Karlin Law Firm LLP can advise regarding how best to use such plug-ins and what parts of a website need to be handled in other ways.
Copyright 2020 by The Karlin Law Firm LLP