How a Lack of Accessibility Conformance Reports is Costing Your Brand Billions
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in four adults in the United States has a disability.
Rules and standards have been established, within the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, to encourage accessibility for people with disabilities in a range of industry areas where accessibility is critical.
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The law covers all state and local governments as well as public accommodations like websites. If your company or organization disregards the ADA standards, it may be subject to costly lawsuits and run the risk of incurring large financial losses in the form of settlements for legal damages.
Whatever the potential legal repercussions of not adhering to the ADA accessibility rules, seeking accessibility is just a wise move for any company interested in improved customer service and more revenues through a more thorough understanding of its customers. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act provides the basis for this.
Missed opportunities to work with the federal government, its agencies, and organizations that receive funding from the federal government cost many company brands billions of dollars.
Along with the ADA, Section 508 also applies to you if you are a supplier of electronic information and technology that will be used by federal employees. Even if you don’t sell the technology directly to the federal government and instead make the EIT accessible to the general public, Section 508 still applies to you.
Section 508 requires that all federal agencies use technology that is accessible to people with disabilities. A related law, Section 504, extends the requirements of Section 508 to organizations that receive federal funding. It means that if you provide EIT that will be used by anyone that is directly or indirectly federally funded, you are also federally funded and Section 508 may apply to you as a technology provider. You will, therefore, not be selected as an EIT provider to a federally funded organization if you’re not compliant.
In response to Section 508 requirements, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) created a template known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help federal contracting officials, buyers, and vendors of EIT in making preliminary assessments regarding the compliance of EIT hardware and software with Section 508.
The VPAT is broken down into sections that cover various functional EIT areas, including software provider accessibility, web-based Internet information and applications, telecommunications products, video and multimedia products, self-contained or closed products, desktop and portable computers, as well as information, documentation, and support. The VPAT becomes a VPAT accessibility conformance report (ACR) once it has been filled out with the necessary data and information.
If you are an EIT vendor, you must comply in order to market your products or services with the federal government, its agencies, and organizations that get funding from the federal government. An astute vendor cannot ignore this significant sector of the economy unless they don’t mind missing the chance to generate billions of dollars in revenue from sales to this market.
You should still carefully consider Section 508 even if you are not an EIT vendor because you may need consumer-facing technology like websites or be a supplier of services like Software as a Service (SaaS) to increase the market share for your brand.
Whether or not the brands they offer are an EIT, businesses and organizations are still bound by the accessibility features that websites must have. Therefore, in order to prevent losing billions of dollars in costly ADA non-compliance lawsuits, you need a VPAT accessibility conformance report for any website you use to sell your EIT or non-EIT brands.
Web accessibility has various benefits, such as expanding your potential clientele, improving the functionality of your website, and ranking higher in search engine results. Additionally, it keeps your business compliant with the law and shields you from financial loss due to lawsuits.
These advantages of a website that is accessible could significantly enhance your business and boost its revenue. To be able to realize them, you must invest in an accurate VPAT accessibility conformance report. This should be based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which is an international accessibility standard maintained by a nongovernmental organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The WCAG is the industry standard for web accessibility, thus adhering to it correctly can help your business’s design to be globally scalable.
If you provide SaaS, accessibility will enable you to work with huge global corporations or clients in the public sector, which could significantly increase your revenue. Both concentrating on removing all obstacles to accessibility and thoroughly documenting your SaaS’s accessibility conformance procedure are beneficial business strategies. Competing in the changing SaaS environment will be difficult for you if you are unable to present concise and expert documentation expressing the level of accessibility for your SaaS firm.
If you have formal documentation of the accessibility conformance process, it will be simpler for you to address the problems limiting the success of your business in addition to allowing you to properly position your SaaS within the competitive SaaS landscape. To do that, you must realize how an accessibility conformance report for SaaS may help to increase the business chances for your company.
Having a VPAT accessibility conformance report for your product is a wise move whether you are a vendor for an EIT or non-EIT product. This is due to the possibility that not having the report would result in you missing out on prime sales opportunities.
However, it is understandable that your business might lack the knowledge necessary to compile a reliable accessibility conformance report. In such incidences, getting assistance from experts in accessibility may be beneficial. The experts will educate you on the key aspects of accessibility conformance in addition to assisting you with creating the VPAT ACR.
Call (626) 486-2201 or click here to find out how you can be helped to create your VPAT accessibility conformance report today.