As Chief Innovation Strategist and Advisor to the CEO here at UsableNet, I frequently interview and speak with media outlets about Accessibility and ADA-based Web lawsuits.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a popular radio and podcast, Into Tomorrow. For those who missed it, you can listen to the full interview below or on the Into Tomorrow website.
I've included a full transcript here and an excerpt from my interview with Dave below.
Dave: I'm seeing on your website that ADA website lawsuits are now reaching one an hour on average and I certainly understand the years of of a office buildings and general construction for example, needing to be ADA compliance and so forth. I didn't know that there were law has about websites having to be ADA compliant as well.
Me: Yes, it's, it's an interesting time. It's the fastest growing private lawsuit sector right now. I would say that there's, a debate whether the ADA covers websites, but if we all think about it practically, a website today or an app, is where people go to do things its where you go to shop its where you go to bank. And the ADA at its core level is about equal access. So essentially the ADA is being used as a tool by advocates to bring the attention to website and app owners that they are excluding people from the digital opportunities that we all take for granted.
Dave: So what are some of the things Jason, that companies can actually do to make their websites accessible to users of all abilities?
Me: Well, I think the first thing that we normally understand is that a company typically didn't build their website they purchased or they paid someone to build that website. So I think the practical first thing is to talk to the company that you pay to build your website or your app and understand whether they are familiar with what they need to do and whether they've done any testing to make sure that the, the website not only works for the general public, but also works for people who use special devices like assisted technology. So I think the first place to start is where you spend your dollars and make sure you spend your dollars with people and companies that take this seriously. I think that's the easiest way for the majority of companies to take this and, and be a, an active part in that.
Dave: And I think that's the key point there. It's a, you know, let the free market determine who's taking good care of people. Because if you can go to one banking site and you can't do everything you need to do yet some other competitor does make it easier for you. Well obviously use the competitor, you know, use that other, that other establishment. And while that's not the easy answer, it certainly I think will drive more people to pay attention to the kinds of things that they should be doing.
Me: Yes, and I, I'd also add that there's good stories and bad stories. Actually, we had a webinar with Joe DeNiro who works for the Helen Keller Institute for the blind. He is blind himself. He teaches young people how to use technology. And he was talking about the fact that he just got his new guide dog and he had to go to a website for the first time, which was chewy.com and he found that he could do everything he wanted. He could register for an account. He could look for products, he could read reviews, he could add them to cart, he could purchase them. So there are companies out there doing a good job and most likely he will now be a chewy customer for life. So there is a, you know, there's a really, there's a really good at advocacy around if you do a great job, you're going to have this community use you on, on an ongoing basis. So there's definitely a business reason, but a lot of advocates obviously feel that they might be marginalized because they're not as large as a group, as some others. And essentially they're using the law today to bring attention to that.
Dave and I talked about more during the interview and I would encourage those that are not familiar with Into Tomorrow to go to the Website to listen to other interviews there. It was a pleasure to participate and we at UsableNet appreciate the work the media is doing to raise awareness of Website and App Accessibility and Usability.