Digital accessibility is becoming more and more of a concern for businesses and organizations that utilize web applications or digital content. There are some obvious ethical and practical reasons behind this. And there are some very compelling legal reasons behind it as well. From the year 2017 to 2018, the number of web accessibility lawsuits shot up by 181%. And that number continues to rise. So it’s reasonable to expect that accessibility consulting as an industry will see a boom as well.
For many of us, having a website or digital content is a lot like owning a car. We don’t know exactly how every part of it works, but we know what it’s supposed to do. And when something isn’t working or when we need one of those parts changed, we go to a specialist. But just like with mechanics, there are good accessibility consultants and consulting firms—and ones who are looking to take advantage of you or your business.
What to Avoid:
Despite web accessibility being the topic of a growing number of lawsuits, there is not currently a definitive standard in place. Many of these cases tend to refer to the WCAG 2.0 standard however this is not an official standard. And WCAG 2.0 has already been superseded by WCAG 2.1. In fact, WCAG 2.2 is already on the way.
Because of this fact, claims of “ADA Compliance” or any other official ADA standard are flat out false. There is no ADA standard or certification currently available. And if the accessibility consulting firms that are promising these things are basing their claims off of current legal trends, the standard they’re using is already out of date.
What to Look For:
A good accessibility consultant isn’t interested in simply checking a box to declare your site accessible. Accessibility shouldn’t be about meeting a specification or passing a test. It should instead be a mindset that ensures your content or platform has the largest possible reach. It is about creating a dynamic experience that is elegant and intuitive for all users of your platform or content. A good accessibility consultant or consulting firm can open doors for your users—and for your company.