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31 Jan, 2024
Accessibility key on a keyboard highlighted in blue with a cursor icon, symbolizing website accessibility.

How Big of a Problem is Website Accessibility

Wondering how big of a problem website accessibility actually is? There are several different ways to view this question. For instance, if you’re among the population of web users with disabilities prevented from enjoying the same online opportunities as everyone else, it is an all-encompassing problem with very little relief on the immediate horizon.

But what if you’re a business owner or organization operating in the online domain, seemingly carefree? Is web accessibility a big problem? More to the point, is it your big problem? After all, maybe you haven’t received any complaints, demand letters, or lawsuits yet requesting that you make accessibility updates to your site. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before your business is targeted.

At Allyada, we see things differently. By being at the forefront of website accessibility compliance, we know that you can reimagine this problem as a smart business solution instead. Keep reading to understand why.

Your Website is Non-Compliant. Yes- we mean you!

According to WebAIM, a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of web accessibility issues for fifteen years and counting, 96% of the top 1 million websites failed to meet the standards of accessibility compliance under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The latter is a set of guidelines established by an international body dedicated to maintaining global consistency for internet standards.

This sobering statistic highlights the fact that if you have not been intentional about modernizing your website from an accessibility perspective, then there is only a 4% chance that it randomly happens to be compliant. In other words, if your website were compliant, you would already know that because you would have decided to make it compliant through an audit and remediation. No one backs into compliance unknowingly.

For the 4% of websites on the leading edge of compliance, kudos! You’re already reaping the rewards.

For the rest of you, the time to come into compliance is now!

Why Does This Matter?

1. First, continued non-compliance means that your business is vulnerable!

You’re vulnerable to regulatory fines!

At present, while failure to comply with the WCAG does not violate US law, failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a violation of key civil rights legislation in the US. Increasingly, website accessibility is recognized as falling within the purview of the ADA. While not all jurisdictions have fully embraced this perspective yet, a significant number have. And, among those that haven’t, there are broad circumstances in which courts still apply the ADA to website accessibility requirements.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has also issued clear guidance stating that “ensuring web accessibility for people with disabilities” is a top priority and that companies offering “programs, services, and goods” to the public, including through websites, must ensure accessibility compliance.

What does this mean for you? It means that the legislative and regulatory bodies in the US are increasingly positioning accessibility as a paramount objective across the e-commerce industry and holding companies accountable by issuing hefty fines for non-compliance.

You’re vulnerable to lawsuits!

Digital accessibility lawsuits are skyrocketing and increasing exponentially year over year! Nearly 90% of these lawsuits target the e-commerce industry (online retailers of goods and services).

In some instances, these lawsuits even target the same companies repeatedly for continued violations. It is a fact that law firms specializing in ADA-related digital accessibility lawsuits are making bank on the back of non-compliance. These law firms are betting big that they’ll get to you before you get compliant. Every day that your business operates below ADA and WCAG standards could be the day that you get served and pay the price!

2. Second, you’re missing out on lucrative and strategic business opportunities!

You’re missing out on boosting your SEO rankings!

Search engine algorithms increasingly and decidedly favor accessibility as a key objective and boost visibility and access to those sites that are leading the way. Since only 4% of websites are actually achieving compliance, doing so elevates your website to elite status and improves your SEO rankings!

You’re missing out on reaching more consumers!

The most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that over one-quarter of US adults live with a disability. If your website is failing to capture, keep, or convert those users, then you’re needlessly throwing away access to a sizeable segment of the online market.

You’re missing out on tax incentives!

As proof that the federal government prioritizes accessibility and inclusivity, the tax code favors investments in these improvements. Generous tax credits can be claimed annually by companies investing in website accessibility compliance. Choosing not to get your tax credit is choosing to leave a source of investment money untapped. Don’t waste this money; put it to work for you instead!

3. Third, accessibility and diversity are morally and ethically on point!

You’ll be doing the right thing!

Investing in website accessibility isn’t just smart business; it’s the right thing to do. Building a brand that favors accessibility and inclusivity by making practical, real-world improvements is one way for your company to play a valuable role in evolving humanity toward a better future. This is especially true as online engagement, communication, and commerce become the dominant norm.

Automated Compliance Testing is Inadequate! Inclusive Human Compliance Testing is the Gold Standard.

While there are numerous automated compliance testing services available, relying on algorithms alone to audit and assess your website’s accessibility standards is inadequate at best. These programs are only capable of processing a cursory review of your website and are wholly ineffective at providing a deep-level, thorough analysis to actually and adequately bring your site into compliance.

Imagine believing that you’d done what was needed to bring your website into compliance, only to learn that you were being served with demand letters, regulatory fines, and lawsuits for ADA violations. Not only is it outrageous, it’s completely avoidable!

The absolute gold standard in digital accessibility testing is a combination of automated review and a fully inclusive human testing protocol. What does this mean? It means that having a highly skilled, knowledgeable, and CPACC-certified team of sighted and visually impaired professionals conduct a comprehensive analysis of your website is the only way to ensure that you actually achieve and maintain accessibility compliance.

How Much Does Compliance Cost?

Cost is one way to look at it. Investment is another!

With a significant tax credit toward annual accessibility monitoring and improvements, a boost in SEO rankings, a sizeable increase in customer base, and a drastically lower risk of being targeted by ADA lawsuits and fines, an accessibility audit and remediation is simply a smart investment in your business’s bottom line.

At Allyada, we know businesses and their budgets come in all sizes, so we have packages available to meet every need, including customizable options.

When you’re ready to harness the future, supercharge your business plan, and shield yourself from unnecessary legal risks, we’re ready to help you achieve your goals.

Be among the savvy 4%, not the unprepared 96%. Your business will thank you.

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