ADP, an HR and Payroll outsourcing giant, is one of the latest recipients of an accessibility lawsuit. The company has been sued for not making their service accessible to visually impaired people. The lawsuit has been filed by Lighthouse, which is a non-profit organization from San Francisco for the blind and visually impaired.
The organization filed a lawsuit stating that several of their managers and line staff cannot access the features of ADP’s website. Lighthouse further said that ADP’s website is not accessible to screen readers, which is an assistive technology used by their blind employees.
It causes inconvenience for Lighthouse because they have to over-staff their positions with people who can access the website’s services. The inaccessibility of the site also adds to the wastage of valuable human resources for the non-profit organization.
Since ADP’s website is not accessible to screen readers, the staff at Lighthouse had to compromise their privacy and seek external help from people who can see to make adjustments to their compensation and benefits.
The court has noted that businesses in California must provide complete access for everyone to their products and services available online. They also said that ADP’s website and mobile app do not provide adequate access to assistive technologies like screen readers, which are essential for access by the visually impaired.
This case is one of the notable examples of high profile websites that have faced accessibility lawsuits in the recent past. The list also includes Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment and Domino’s Pizza. All of these companies faced a lawsuit for violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Takeaway for Other Businesses
Other businesses must take heed from the lawsuits mentioned above and ensure that their websites are compliant with ADA regulations. To do that, companies need to make sure that they follow the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) while designing their website.
There are several aspects of website accessibility that are covered by the guidelines. Many companies ignore the accessibility guidelines and risk facing lawsuits because redesigning a website from scratch can be expensive. However, many of them are not aware of the recent developments in the field of accessibility.
Redesigning a website by a web developer is not only time-consuming and expensive but it can also render the business website non-operational for weeks.
AI-powered web accessibility services offer a much faster and affordable solution. Check out this recent review by TechReport on accessiBe, a company that employs AI to make websites WCAG compliant. Companies can convert their regular non-compliant websites to fully compliant websites in a matter of moments and at a fraction of the cost of hiring a web developer.
The form fields are often left inaccessible to assistive devices because they do not contain enough information, or the description is inside the boxes that disappear once people start to fill them.
Form fields also tend to use color as information, which becomes a problem for the colorblind. That is why businesses need to ensure that form fields contain adequate instructions to inform users with disabilities of their purpose.
Vital Visual Information
Assistive devices cannot see images and other vital information on websites. So pictures that contain essential information must have alt texts to support the photos. Alt-text attributes are placed in the HTML coding of the website and get relayed by the screen readers to blind users. The lawsuit stated that there is vital visual information on ADP’s website that is inaccessible to blind users.
Websites often have buttons that are not been optimized for accessibility, which creates problems for assistive technologies like screen readers. It was one of the issues that the blind staff at Lighthouse faced with ADP’s website.
Buttons are also treated as images by screen readers. Since they are vital visual information, they must be optimized for accessibility. The lawsuit filed by Lighthouse against ADP stated that the “Covid-19 updates” button was not accessible to screen readers.
Menus and Elements
Menu functions tend to expand and contract when users access them. These are visual elements that are essential to the user’s experience irrespective of their ability.
Therefore, these website operations must be optimized for accessibility by screen readers and other assistive technologies. In fact, every element that is present on the website and crucial to the UX must be accessible by people with disabilities.
Businesses must recognize that accessibility is much more than just following a checklist of guidelines. It is an attitude that needs to get imbibed within the organization. Making a website accessible does not only save a company from expensive lawsuits, but it also promotes their social stance to people living with disabilities and their well-wishers. Not to mention, it opens new avenues for business by making services and products accessible to the huge community of people with disabilities.