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Serious.  Here's why...

On May 17, 2016, WCAG and What You Need to Know: The Laws, The Rights and Your Online Benefits was released by VGM Forbin to educate business owners on the growing issue of website accessibility as it was set to be enforced by the Department of Justice at the start of 2018. 

Over the months, a debate ignited on whether or not website accessibility would be a requirement for business owners or online search engines. This ongoing discussion inspired many web providers to downplay the importance of website accessibility standards. However, class action lawsuits on this issue have only increased, and as a business owner, taking no action still proves to be a dangerous risk.

Here is what you need to know:

  • In May 2016, the Department of Justice indicated its plan to likely adopt the WCAG 2.0 AA standards and that the associated framework would be proposed in 2018. Source: United States Government Publishing Office
  • Despite the Department of Justice’s delay on publishing these web accessibility standards, businesses still remain exposed to litigation. In fact, throughout the past year, the number of single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits against retails, regarding web accessibility, has continued to increase. Source: Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP  
  • Since 2015, more than 240 businesses ranging from big brands to small retailers have been sued in federal court over website accessibility for visually impaired users. Source: The Wall Street Journal
  • The first class action lawsuit to enforce Title III was in 2006, when the National Federation of the Blind filed against Target Corporation. They settled in 2008 for $6 million and awarded over $3.7 million in attorneys’ fees. Source: Web Accessibility Initiative
  • By not having an accessible website, you are missing out on a large consumer base. Of the nearly 220 million American shoppers online, 20 million have some type of physical or cognitive impairment. Source: Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

In order to reduce your risk of a potential web accessibility lawsuit, we recommend the following plan:Image of a Passing Report from Forbin's WCAG Website Accessibility Audit

  1. Conduct an accessibility audit of your website. VGM Forbin offers a complete WCAG 2.0 audit at www.ForbinReport.com that will tell you the top vulnerabilities of your site.
  2. Get everyone on board for moving your site into compliance. This involves your management team, your web provider and your in-house copywriter.
  3. Based on the audit findings, prioritize the most immediate changes, and move forward at the price and pace best suited for your company.
  4. Document your efforts in becoming compliant. Save documents that show the changes you made and the dates on which they were completed.
  5. Once compliant, develop a schedule of regular assessments and steps to keep your website up to current standards.

This year, VGM Forbin has helped dozens of HME businesses achieve compliance and remain compliant with quarterly assessments. We’ve also taken huge leaps in developing our website foundations to be built on compliance, while educating new website owners on how to continue maintaining this compliance. 

If you have questions about achieving website accessibility, give VGM Forbin a call at 864-881-2823 or visit www.ForbinReport.com to sign up for a FREE WCAG 2.0 audit today!

Link to external site Forbin Report Web Accessibility Audit

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