Digital Accessibility In Education

Maintaining an accessible website is required by law for schools, colleges and universities, but ensuring your organization is sufficiently accessible takes a lot of research, work and vigilance. From students logging in to check their curriculum, to attending online classes, to correspondence with parents, the scope of what must be accessible is broad and complex. Beyond it being the law, it is the ethical thing to do as accessibility is crucial to ensuring everyone gets the most out of their education.

While navigating the requirements is difficult, we are here to help.

Document Your Digital Assets with a VPAT

Any education-based organization or Ed-Tech vendor faces incredibly stringent accessibility requirements. If you are working with the Federal Government or any organization, such as a school district or university that receives government funding, you will need to get a VPAT for all of your digital properties. Whether that is your website, mobile app, or customer portal, they all must have a VPAT, documenting their accessibility. The best way to secure a VPAT Report is by hiring a trained VPAT Consultantto draft it for you. ADACP can help.

Schools at Risk of Lawsuits

There has been a 30% rise in website accessibility lawsuits and educational institutions are among the organizations most commonly receiving complaints and being included in lawsuits.

Education institutions have a broad scope of digital platforms and must abide by such a high required standard, that their lawsuit exposure is very high. There are many digital platforms and all of them must be accessible for instructors, students, parents and applicants.

The Office of Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is tasked with ensuring all schools are discrimination-free – this includes web accessibility. Currently there are hundreds of pending cases under investigation at elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools. A quarter of every discrimination case being investigated by the OCR is related to web accessibility.

If a complaint is filed, it must be investigated.

Bigger and more established academic institutions are particularly in danger of legal exposure for operating digital content, websites, and apps with possible accessibility violations. But the OCR will investigate all complaints made, even against smaller schools. 

To lower your organization’s threat of receiving an OCR letter of complaint, you need to adopt a set of web accessibility standards and put these rules into practice. We can help you do that.

Accessibility Solutions:

Manual Audits vs. Automated Scans

The best way to gain a complete understanding of how accessible your website is and make sure that all the accessibility issues are addressed is to hire an expert who uses both automated and manual accessibility testing.

It’s unfortunate that many companies, keen to get into the ADA market as lawsuit threats continue to grow, tout automated software scans as a comprehensive solution when the AI is only capable of catching approximately 30% of non-compliant issues. In order to truly ensure ADA compliance, you must include a live audit, in which a trained technician tests your website for all the requirements.

Trained accessibility consultants can provide the guidance that institutions need to find all conformance issues and create appropriate remediation strategies. Testing should include both manual and automatic testing.

With over a decade of experience, we are ready to deliver a hands-on approach to ensure that your institution meets the required compliance for web accessibility. We will work hard to ensure your website is compliant according to all required guidelines.

Our Accessibility Team is composed of professional and skilled technicians who offer white glove support through the duration of the audit process. Although auditing digital products is a complex process, our quality of service is top-notch and our team does not rely solely on automated software scans because they are not enough to protect you from lawsuits or ensure your website gets sufficiently compliant.