Flood of Accessibility Lawsuits in 2018
Last month the Bureau of Internet Accessibility of the United States published an article called Flood of Accessibility Lawsuits in 2018. This article discusses the rapid increase of accessibility lawsuits in the United States in recent times and why this is occurring. One principal reason is the Federal Government’s delay in releasing clear guidelines for websites. Many of the lawsuits allege that companies are violating discrimination laws by failing to make their websites accessible to the visually impaired.
This article is opportune. In previous blogs I have predicted a similar scenario for Australia; it’s just a matter of time before a deluge of lawsuits begins in Australian courts.
It is true that some web development companies have also realised the importance of applying the guidelines and attempted to do so. This is commendable, but all too often their websites feature accessibility errors or the guidelines have been applied inconsistently. Accessibility guidelines are time-consuming and difficult to apply; one needs an expert to complete the task successfully.
Meanwhile, on a daily basis I survey the net and often come across websites, including some built this year, that completely disregard most or all web accessibility rules. Most of these are private companies sites, but I must point out that some public organisation sites don’t even meet the basis web accessibility features.
I wonder which private or non-private organisation site will be first to face a lawsuit because they decided to ignore the law. Do we have to wait until this happens? No, I don’t. I believe we need to be more proactive and learn from lessons learnt in the US and UK and work towards producing a accessibility standard now.