Don’t Get Caught In This Accessibility Crossfire

Last week we examined a report from UsableNet about digital accessibility lawsuits. One of the issues that report featured was the sharp rise in lawsuits against companies using plugins/widgets that claim to make a website accessible compliant.

Spoiler: they don’t.

In fact, using them could draw negative attention to your organization. The 5/9/21 edition of nbcnews.com published a timely article by April Glaser that reports on backlash some of those plugin providers are facing from disability advocates that claim their solutions are anything but.

In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.

It’s rough enough that accessibility standards aren’t defined at a Federal level and organizations are subject to sliding compliance scale but these increasing gray zones only pile on.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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Don't Get Caught In This Accessibility Crossfire

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