Insights

The Secret Weapon to Take Your Website to the Next Level (hint: it has to do with accessibility)

The following guest blog is by Will Bubenik, Founder of Nebula Media Group.

What if I told you that one click could skyrocket your business?

How would it feel to:
– Unlock an untapped customer base
– Avoid lawsuits
– AND make your site targeted to the markets your competitors are (foolishly) ignoring…

All by adding one simple line of code?

More on that in a second.

A New Wave of Lawsuits

It’s not easy too often one can say, “Well, if it happened to Beyoncé, it might happen to me.”

But in this case, it’s true.

In January 2019, the Queen B’s company, Parkwood Entertainment, was sued in a class-action lawsuit. The claim? That her website violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), meaning that it did not provide accommodations for people that may have disabilities, mobility issues, or significant vision impairments.

Beyoncé is not just the only one.

The Americans With Disabilities Act, a law that is set to turn 30 next year, is spurring thousands of digital-age lawsuits claiming that company websites are places of public accommodation. This means that they must be accessible to people with vision issues, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and many other groups.

There has been a 200% increase in web accessibility lawsuits in just the past two years. That number is steadily increasing this year as well. The reason these lawsuits are sharply increasing is that a company’s digital assets, primarily websites that are meant to serve the public, do not offer accessibility features for people with disabilities to be able to fully utilize their services.

Thousands of people have been sued, and you can bet that almost everyone whose website isn’t accessible according to the ADA laws laid down can and will likely be eventually sued in court (and lose) if your website (or app) isn’t compliant.

Thomas Barton, an employment attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Philadelphia office, mentions, “Lawyers will send out demand letters based on a publicly available website where they can run a pretty rudimentary test. It’s almost never 100% compliant, even if the business makes attempts to make it compliant.”

There have been approximately 75,000 demand letters that have been served to businesses and nonprofits large and small since 2017. 95% of demand letters were settled outside of court for ~$20,000 – $150,000 on average. The other 5% fight and lose in court.

The risk for a lawsuit for inaccessibility extends to include all of your company’s digital assets — this includes everything from emails, social media posts, training videos, internal business portals…and even video games.  You will be dragged into court, or forced to pay massive fines, and you will have to make your website ADA Title III compliant at that point anyways.

Compliance Confusion

Many business owners may not even realize that their site might be inaccessible per the ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Until you are exposed to this world, many people don’t know what the challenges are.

Ideally, websites are to meet WCAG 2.1, which are a set of guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3G) that help websites, online content, and applications be accessible on a variety of devices. Adhering to these guidelines however, is a daunting task, especially for small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s).

Ultimately, what is reasonable for your company to bring your website into compliance?

Enter Nebula Media Group and Our 3-Step Solution

Web accessibility can seem complex and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Nebula Media Group helps businesses make their digital assets accessible to people with disabilities and the aging population through accessibility tools, instantly strengthening any accessibility weak spots in your online presence that might cause issues. We do so in a simple, 3-step process:

Step 1: Choose from our Basic, Advanced, or Premium Tools. We then install a single line of code onto your website, instantly displaying our Accessibility Tool interface.

Step 2: Our team starts scanning and analyzing your website to make it more compatible with assistive technologies. Our Basic and Advanced Tools use human testing, while our Premium Tool uses Artificial Intelligence.

Step 3: Within 48 hours, our process is complete! Our Premium Tool re-scans and monitors any changes made to your site every 24 hours.

When you convey you’re an accessibility-friendly and inclusive brand, you’re making an impact on a lot of people. 40% of the population, that is. By making your digital properties more accessible, you may protect your website from litigation and make it exponentially easier for the people that need your site to be accessible who want to do business with you.

Nebula Media Group is available for a FREE consultation – and Will Bubenik is always happy to have conversations with businesses on how they can begin a journey to web accessibility compliance.

This is an important tactic that makes up a company’s strategic marketing and sales plan – and ECS’s sales and marketing duo of Bill Morrow (bmorrow@thinkempirical.com) and Laurel Cavalluzzo (lcavalluzzo@thinkempirical.com) always enjoys talking about the different initiatives that a company should consider – including that of compliance!