ADA for Digital Agencies – Bring your Accessibility Services to Market with Crownpeak

14 Dec 2021
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Posted by Crownpeak

If you’re a digital agency, you already have your hands full. The last thing you need is for your clients to get slapped with a website accessibility lawsuit because the websites you built for them do not meet the latest ADA guidelines.

If you’ve filed your ADA compliance checklist under “I’ll get to that when I’ve finished all my other projects,” you might want to pull that one back into focus. Based on the latest web accessibility data, there were more than 2,000 lawsuits related to ADA compliance in 2020. And that number will continue to grow if website owners, designers, developers and digital agencies continue to be non-compliant with ADA guidelines.

ADA compliance is mandatory for digital agencies

ADA compliance standards are based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) , a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with a disability. As more and more of our work, play, shopping, business, entertainment, communication and recreation take place in the digital world, the internet has become the digital equivalent of a public square. As a result, websites are considered “places of public accommodation” for people of all abilities, and that means they are subject to ADA requirements.

Creating ADA-compliant websites is the right thing to do in order to deliver great digital experiences for people of all abilities. But there are other good reasons as well. If your digital agency creates websites that aren’t compliant with the ADA standards, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary pain and frustration if your clients land in legal trouble, not to mention it can quickly damage your agency’s credibility and reputation.

There’s also a solid business case to be made for creating accessible websites. When you consider that 1.2 billion people – that’s 15% of the global population – have some sort of disability, you’re looking at a huge amount of spending power. Making your sites more accessible wins loyalty among those who find it easy to access your content. This is a significant marketing benefit you can sell to your clients in helping them reach an expanded market with the accessible, inclusive and high-converting digital experiences you create.

It’s time to get familiar with WCAG

The ADA makes it clear that websites must comply with ADA guidelines, but it doesn’t provide a specific set of requirements for website accessibility. This is where the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) come in. Over the course of thousands of court decisions, this set of global guidelines is now well-established as the de facto legal standard. WCAG standards are, effectively, the ADA compliance website guidelines that digital agencies and website owners need to adhere to. They provide layers of standards that will help you achieve web accessibility, including principles, basic guidelines, success criteria, and advisory techniques. Although WCAG isn’t formally codified into US law, if you wish to avoid litigation and make your clients’ websites accessible and inclusive, the working standard for digital accessibility in 2021 is WCAG 2.1 A, AA .

Accessibility is an urgent issue for your clients. Why? DEI

The legal risks and imperatives are driving organizations to action, but if they haven’t already, there’s another reason your clients will soon come asking about accessibility. That’s because Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is quickly becoming a focal point in our culture, and companies are recognizing that they have a responsibility to act against barriers that are causing unfair conditions for underrepresented groups. The rise of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives has put people with disabilities in a new spotlight.

In addition, your clients want their websites to reflect the diversity that is now expected of them by a new generation of customers who are growing ever stronger in their influence and buying power. The most effective websites tap into both the social and business value of digital accessibility, casting a wider net to both enable and represent people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, lifestyles and abilities. Doing this helps you and your clients “walk their talk” when it comes to DEI, and it pays off in better ROI as a broader and more diverse customer base is attracted to those digital experiences you create.

How to Action: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Across your Digital Enterprise

Watch on Demand

How are you / your clients currently handling web accessibility?

While there still are many organizations that have yet to implement DEI or digital accessibility programs, we have seen a number of organizations that try to solve for this manually – an unsustainable solution for any enterprise-scale web presence.

This is an opportunity for your agency to advise and assist, but first, you have to recognize where they (or you) are coming up short. Here’s a quick list of questions that can help.

Are you or your clients:

  • Using manual QA processes to detect issues? This can be very time-consuming, difficult to scale and maintain and is ineffective without proper WCAG knowledge.
  • Using a free, single page website accessibility checker? Free web accessibility checkers or ADA compliance checkers can be useful for WCAG compliance spot-checks but are inadequate for enterprise environments as they do not provide global visibility across an organization’s digital properties, enable the tracking of ongoing compliance; or assist with essential manual testing requirements.
  • Experiencing slow remediation progress? This can be due to inadequate toolsets, lack of in-house expertise or poorly defined and resourced accessibility programs.
  • Struggling with existing accessibility programs?
    • Do they understand how their sites score for accessibility overall?
    • Do they have a way to report on the reduction of issues and prove accessibility progress?
    • Are they able to see what issues exist across all pages every time content changes are made to the site?
    • Do they have the necessary resources or expertise to fix the issues that are detected?
    • Are they able to catch issues pre-publication - before re-launching sites or publishing new content?
  • Maintaining accessibility compliance levels? Unlike some regulations that involve a simple one-time addition to the site to be compliant, web accessibility requires a continuous effort to ensure that all content that is being added and edited on sites can be accessed by people of different abilities. This is where having an automated accessibility checker is essential.

There are various ways to support your clients in creating and maintaining ADA-compliant websites, but by far the most effective, efficient and scalable approach is to implement a web accessibility testing platform, like Crownpeak DQM.

Crownpeak DQM - the #1 accessibility solution for digital agencies

Web and digital agencies can play a crucial (and potentially lucrative) role in making ADA-compliant websites for their clients.

However, ensuring that websites developed and managed by your agency meet the legal requirements under the ADA – and avoid being the target of an ADA compliance website lawsuit - can be a difficult task without the right set of tools and experience.

Crownpeak Digital Quality Management (DQM) is the top-rated enterprise accessibility testing solution used by leading agencies and global brands.

TrustRadius awards Crownpeak DQM Top Rated Accessibility Testing Tool

Read the Press Release →

Designed to support large, complex, multi-site enterprise environments, the platform makes accessibility compliance fast, measurable and scalable. With DQM, agencies have everything they need to address their clients’ growing needs for web accessibility in a way that lowers legal risk, addresses social and DEI expectations, creates more engaging and accessible experiences for differently abled consumers and drives new revenue streams for the agency.

Capabilities of the platform include:

  • Automated testing against WCAG 2.1 & 2.2 guidelines
  • Prioritized, actionable fixes to optimize the speed and efficiency of remediation
  • Global and website-level reporting and analytics
  • Manual testing and consulting services
  • Dedicated Customer Success Managers to provide guidance and drive results every step of the way

And much more…

  • In addition to WCAG / ADA accessibility compliance, the platform also enables agencies to provide an umbrella of digital quality and remediation services covering SEO, regulatory standards and clients’ own custom brand and editorial standards.

Bring your accessibility services to market with Crownpeak

Crownpeak’s DQM solution enables web design and digital agencies to bring new accessibility services to market in a manner that fits your business model.

Agencies can use DQM to bolster their clients’ web accessibility programs in two primary ways:

  • Resell the Crownpeak DQM solution to clients on a standalone basis
  • Embed the product into a larger offering that’s packaged with existing services

Crownpeak DQM offers a compelling way to deliver high value services to your clients and build new revenue streams for your business.

Agencies also use the insights and data derived from the platform to bolster services like QA testing, bug remediation, site development and to deploy, measure and manage DEI or other digital policy programs for their customers.

With Crownpeak’s DQM, you can:

  • Create new revenue channels aligned to solving pain points your customers are experiencing today
  • Leverage one-time DQM scans to use for data-driven lead generation and sales positioning
  • Drive improved customer retention and loyalty by expanding your relationship and footprint in your accounts
  • Provide clients with a complete end-to-end view of their digital accessibility and quality across all digital properties
  • Accelerate and scale accessibility programs with automated scanning technology
  • Customize digital policy checks to meet unique needs of every organization

Want to learn how Crownpeak can help your agency turn ADA obligation into opportunity?

Speak to a DQM Partner Manager Today