Selecting the Right Accessibility Company is Vital to Compliance

Published on

The Rush to ADA Compliance 

Many businesses are hitting the panic button, scrambling to become ‘ADA Compliant.’ But, to whom are they running in their hysteria, how are they vetting them, and are they going about 508 compliance properly? 

ADA Compliance is following the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide equal access to goods, services, and information. Believe it or not, this rush to compliance is actually a slow crawl with a sprint at the end.

Related: What does being “ADA Compliant” even mean?

judge banging gavel in the court room

The Fear of Lawsuits VS Following the Laws

In 2017, Winn-Dixie was found liable in a landmark case, for not having an accessible website. The argument was, if a third party creates the site would they be liable?  Well, the court ruled that, ultimately, it was Winn-Dixie’s responsibility to follow the law; not the company that created its website. After the Winn-Dixie ruling, the rush to partial ADA compliance was off and running.

But companies need to realize that partial compliance is NOT a substitute for being ADA compliant.

With the uptick in website accessibility lawsuits, we’ve also seen an increase in companies offering accessibility solutions. These companies offer “fast and cheap” ways to remediate documents and claim to help you become ADA compliant. Beware, these companies rarely provide full ADA compliance. Also, there is more to accessibility than websites. And, with the Winn-Dixie ruling, we know it is the organization that is liable for ADA compliance, not a third party company.

Beware of Third-Party Partial ADA Compliance

Search “ADA compliance” and you will see a flood of ads for website accessibility. There is no shortage of DIY automated accessibility tools and ADA accessibility companies. They seem to have popped up overnight. Almost all of these companies provide a minimal level of ADA compliance, and what they do offer often leaves companies at risk.

It is essential to research third-party companies.

Does the Company…?

  • Have a physical location, or is the work farmed out? 
    Did you know that some organizations are simply brokers that farm the jobs out; often to the lowest bidders with a disregard for quality and content?
  • Have ADA subject matter experts? 
    It is important for an ADA company to understand ADA laws. It is also beneficial to be able to discuss compliance solutions with a company’s subject matter expert.
  • Have a compliant website?
    Anyone can look good on the internet but does the company trying to sell accessibility to you follow its own advice?
  • Permit site visits? 
    You can learn a lot about a vendor by taking a trip to their site. You can also learn a lot if they do not permit a visit.
  • Check remediation and documents manually to ensure compliance and readability? 
    A manual check is vital in getting the job done right the first time.

Ask Questions  

  • How many full-time employees do they have? 
    The number of employees is a good indicator of the volume of business they handle and the stability of the company.
  • How long have they been in business? 
    Years in business lets you know if a company is stable and if they are an industry leader.
  • What kind of security do they offer for client privacy? 
    Look for a company with SOC II Type 2 certification. As an added bonus, look for additional certifications like HiTrust and HIPAA Compliance standards.
  • What kinds of industries do they service? 
    A glimpse of the industries served by the business will tell you a lot about the quality of the product and service they offer.
  • What kind of accessibility does the company offer? 
    A dependable ADA accessibility company will provide more than digital document remediation. Ask about braille, large print, and audio files. And don’t forget to ask if they keep all of their work in-house, or if they use subcontractors. These days “subcontractor” typically means they send your files to an overseas resource for remediation.
Several index cards in a pile that all say "choice"

Select with Care

There is a lot to consider when contracting with an accessibility company. Selecting the right company, even if the cost is a little higher, means the job should be right the first time.

This blog is a brief overview of the ADA requirements, and this information is not legal advice, it is a starting point for understanding ADA Compliance and selecting a quality document provider.

Categorized in: , ,

This post was written by Christine Sket

Comments are closed here.