What’s more expensive than getting sued over inaccessibility?

Getting sued *twice* over the same (or different) inaccessibility

Photo by explorenation # on Unsplash
  1. The “Hooters” effect (explained more in detail below)
  2. Companies reaching settlement agreements and then getting into an ongoing dispute (from the plaintiff’s perspective) over the defendant’s failure to fix accessibility issues in the manner (or timeframe) identified in the settlement agreement.

Infrastructure Accessibility and Content Accessibility are NOT the same

Infrastructure accessibility pertains to accessibility of page templates, such as:

  • Elements that show up on every page (footer links, search bar, menus)
  • Anything related to navigation
  • Colors associated with carousel updates or hero image replacement
  • Multimedia

But every … single … time … the content is updated, content accessibility should be reassessed.

This becomes more of an issue when the content is being changed by a third party vendor, which is incredibly common. You need to make sure:

  1. that your vendor adequately trains THEIR personnel, and;
  2. your contract with the vendor include penalties when they deploy inaccessible content so they have some skin in the game.

Accessibility is a PROGRAM not a PROJECT

I swear I should corner the market on clothing and coffee mugs that include this statement.

The Hooters Effect

Thanks to the decision in Haynes v Hooters, unless the first accessibility lawsuit filed against an organization is a class action lawsuit (a few are, many are not) other individuals may sue while your organization is:

  • reaching an agreement with the plaintiff in the first lawsuit, or;
  • implementing the fixes agreed in the first lawsuit.

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store