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2020 Website & ADA Compliance Common Asked Questions…

Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, Websites by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, generally all users have equal access to information and functionality.

In 2020 Jacob Tyler, in partnership with AccessiBe, released our automated platform JADA in order to quickly assist our clients Website compliance issues.

Jacob-Tyler-ADA-Compliance-Screenshot

Below are our frequently asked platform questions. If you would like to learn more or receive a product demonstration, please reach out to Jeff Tompkins at jeff@jacobtyler.com

How do the disabled use the internet?

People with various disabilities have tools that help them interact with sites. For the blind, there are screen readers which allow them to hear the content on a webpage. For those with motor impairments, adjustments are made so they can navigate websites using only the TAB key or other special implementations. Other adjustments can be as simple as increasing the font-size or adjusting contrast. Our tool allows anyone with any disability to adjust the settings to their hearts’ content until they’re browsing in comfort.

Why do I have to be compliant?

Web accessibility compliance is a requirement that’s been set by the ADA title III and affirmed by the DOJ. Moreover, legal implications aside, people living with disabilities make up between 20-25% of the global population. This is an enormous market that shouldn’t be cut out of the internet age, and opening up your business to such a large new audience should be beneficial for all.

I tried checking your compliance/compliance via wave/lighthouse/etc and got a whole bunch of errors, why am I not compliant?

First of all, testing for accessibility compliance is done by an accessibility expert and is called an audit. Automated tests are nowhere near being accurate in general. Also, they evaluate your template’s accessibility, whereas JADA doesn’t work on your template. It works on the session.

Still, if you want to test your website by yourself with such tools while using JADA, you can try Wave’s Chrome extension or Google Lighthouse, as they also work on the session. You’ll need to turn on “Accessible Mode” because JADA won’t change anything to your site by default, only when asked to. Our system makes session-based adjustments, catered specifically to the person’s disability and needed adjustments.

Again, I must emphasize that this is not a proper way to check accessibility and these tools often even present false information in order to motivate you to purchase their  remediation solution.

In addition, to help you optimize the results using the aforementioned tools, simply look at the errors you are receiving, make adjustments using JADA accordingly, and then run the test again. Given that this is not the proper way to check, whatever result you receive with this method is the best we can do!

Do we need to put in Alt tags and ARIA labels manually?

No, absolutely not! Our AI technology is not only able to identify characters and words, but also to understand context and recognize images, so it’s capable of taking care of all these labels and tags automatically.

What if I already put ALTs or did accessibility work?

That’s great! If you’ve already made changes to make your site more accessible, such as adding ALT tags, our AI will not override your work, as we assume you’ve made those changes for a good reason.

Why is your service so inexpensive? Sounds too good to be true!

In the web accessibility market, most solutions require manual remediation, which entails lots of time and effort of skilled developers and accessibility experts and is very expensive. Our AI cuts out all of that cost by automating the entire analysis and remediation process.

How long from the time Jacob Tyler implements the code until I’m compliant?

This can take up to 48 hours; you’ll see the interface immediately after installation and that solves about 30% of the requirements, but you won’t be fully compliant until up to 48 hours later when you also receive your statement of accessibility that doubles as a certificate of performance. You’ll receive that statement directly to your registered email at the moment you become compliant.

Is there anything that’s not included in the price?

There is one exception to our solution.  JADA remediates everything in your codebase, but there are certain elements that aren’t included in the code, like PDFs, videos, and documents (word, excel, ppt) so JADA can’t reach them. Nevertheless, if you have such elements on your site we do offer manual remediation for them, just like other manual services.

Can I have all my subdomains under one subscription/how do you handle subdomains?

We license every domain and subdomain separately. You can have several subdomains under one account, but you need a separate subscription per subdomain. If you have 10 or more subdomains, contact your partnerships manager to understand how best to handle this.

How do you compare to manual entry to your service?

Our competitors have fine solutions, but most provide a manual service. JADA is the only completely automated solution on the market providing full compliance with the WCAG 2.1. Manual remediation is a long process and requires the employment of skilled developers, which is very expensive and doesn’t include the necessary ongoing maintenance. JADA, on the other hand, was developed to be affordable and even scans sites every 24 hours in order to maintain compliance at all times.

Do you indemnify?

In the United States, anyone can be sued for any reason. We cannot prevent someone from suing you, nor can we indemnify you. We do have an intricate process through which we protect thousands of clients from litigation. Would you like me to explain it? Once you have installed JADA, your site will display an accessibility icon, which heads off 90%+ of lawsuits at the pass. If and when someone does approach you with a lawsuit or demand letter, our Accessibility Statement explains the changes that have been made to ensure your site is accessible. This statement can be sent to any legal entity or anyone else who needs clarification on the accessibility level of your site. Finally, in the rare instance that a legal entity has a specific complaint about your site, we have an effective process to handle these, called the Litigation Support Package.

What are the relationships between WCAG, ADA, Section 508 etc? What do I have to abide by?

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) issued the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Thereafter, several governments adopted these guidelines into their legislations. Section 508 refers to public companies and government agencies, and directly references the WCAG as the accepted standard in the industry. ADA Title III is relevant for the private sector and refers to accessibility of public spaces. In 2018, the DOJ ruled that websites constitute public accommodations and are required to be equally accessible to people with disabilities. As a result, rulings have consistently cited the WCAG as the accepted standard in the industry. Therefore, if you abide by the WCAG you’re as compliant as possible.

I want more information on those laws, tell me more!

I will start in chronological order so you get a proper understanding of the chronological events that have led to web accessibility:  ADA – The Americans with disabilities act became law in 1990 and protects people with disabilities against discrimination.  Title III of the ADA refers to accessibility of public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, Hotels, etc..  Section 508 is part of the Rehabilitation Act and was passed in 1998. It requires federal agencies to develop, procure, and use information and communications technology that is accessible to people with disabilities.  W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium that developed the WCAG. WCAG 1.0 2.0 2.1 – The web content accessibility guidelines were initially released in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the DOJ regarded websites as public accommodations. This, in turn, expedited the process of governments adopting the WCAG as the standard to make websites accessible. There are 3 levels of accessibility stated in the WCAG – A, AA, AAA The WCAG 2.1 considers AA as the standard of an accessible website.

How can you prove we’re compliant, do you do an audit?

Our technology scans your entire website for problems and remediates them on the spot. We provide each website using JADA with a Statement of Accessibility that doubles as a certificate of performance and describes all the adjustment made to the site. We also use JADA ACE, our Automated Compliance Expert, to perform a full scan and 15-page downloadable pdf report.

If I get sued, what do you do to help?

If a licensee receives a demand letter and contacts us for assistance, we go through the following process. First, we perform a compliance audit along with two scans: aCe and WAVE. We use two scans because aCe is our own, so a third-party scanner concurring with our results is an added assurance. We will then provide our Accessibility Statement, along with our Suggested Response (a form letter we have used to great effect). We will include with this your Purchase Invoice, a Compliance Overview (to explain to the other party how our tool functions and so on), and a Failures Request Master. The Failures Request Master is a spreadsheet in which a complainant can log and document specific perceived accessibility failures or holes and request review of them. In the vast majority of cases, our licensees do not even receive a response to the Suggested Response.

Do you provide an itemized list or dashboard of accessibility where I can track everything on my site to see if it’s accessible?

We have our own scanner, called ACE (the Automated Compliance Expert) which provides 15-page PDF accessibility reports with relevant code snippets showing accessible and inaccessible elements.

Why can’t you ensure 100% compliance with your solution?

In the vast majority of cases, JADA functions perfectly from the moment of installation. In far less than 1% of cases, coding errors on a site’s source could cause the AI engines to misidentify or not identify various elements, which could lead to accessibility holes. As JADA has no ability to change a site’s source code, it would not be able to correct for this error. That error would, however pop up on an aCe scan, which would inform the site owner of the relevant issue.

Does JADA work on any CMS/system/website?

Yes, JADA can function on any domain capable of accepting Javascript code.

How Do I Check My Site’s Accessibility Level?

While you can of course check sites manually, we have developed a state-of-the-art Automated Compliance Expert, JADA ACE, to check everything in seconds. Just go to ace.accessibe.com and enter the domain you’d like to test in the search bar. You’ll see a full report ready in seconds that will be immediately available as a PDF via email.

What Is A Screen Reader?

A screen reader is a device or piece of software used by people with severe visual impairments or blindness to interact with a computer. Because screen reader users cannot effectively see, the screen reader is designed to “read out” the contents of a website so that they can use it. Some screen readers are physical devices that display the content of a website as braille text, while others are only software and verbally communicate content to the user. Screen readers generally need to be active from the moment the user has activated their computer, because they simply would not be able to operate the computer with a mouse for obvious reasons. While the vast majority of screen reader users are those with either no vision or impaired vision, screen readers are also important for the illiterate and people with certain learning and cognitive disabilities. An example of this would be someone with severe dyslexia who has trouble reading.

How does your AI work?

Our AI scans your entire website and compares its components, widgets, structures and user behavior to thousands of other sites already using our solution. Then, it finds out each and every element’s role. For example, It’ll understand your menus, dropdowns, popups, forms, validations, and all other aspects. Next, it will apply and modify your website’s behavior and HTML code on the fly, when users turn “Accessible Mode” on. It even scans all the images on your site and takes them through object recognition, as well as OCR processes in order to provide ALT tags to the images.

What is the advantage of using JADA’s technology vs. manual remediation?

There are many. A few of the big advantages are: analysis and re-remediation every 24 hours so you always stay compliant, no manual work from the customer side, no need to compromise the site UI or design, websites can be made fully accessible in 48 hours, we provide you with a certification of performance, and of course pricing is significantly more reasonable. How can I be sure your technology will remain compliant, do you check for bugs and update regularly?

We are constantly reviewing the latest updates in regards to web accessibility and implementing them to ensure our clients remain compliant. In addition, our AI rescans each website every 24 hours to keep current with any updates to the site!

Do you collect any data/affect GDPR? 

What about GA (google analytics) data? We do not collect any data that would affect your GDPR compliance.

How do you handle i-Frames? If i have content coming from elsewhere can you remediate it?

Because i-frames are not actually code belonging to the domain that JADA is installed on,  JADA cannot affect them.

That being said, it is our understanding that it is the responsibility of the owner of the original content the i-frame draws from to make it compliant.

If you have content that is i-framed out on other domains, and JADA is installed in your code, your i-frame will be accessible.

Will your tool slow down my website or affect the regular UI/UX at all?

No, JADA is a session-based tool that adjusts the website on the fly after it’s been fully loaded and rendered. There will be no difference in browsing experience for someone who has not activated any accessibility features.

Do you affect our codebase at all?

No, there’s just a single line of JS code that needs to be implemented in the body of the site, that’s all.

Do you use Cookies?

No, we use local storage that is on the user side, not the server side, which enables us to function without affecting GDPR or storing any user data.

What is Local Storage Local storage is the storage of data on a user’s browser, so as not to transmit personal data.

Can JADA work on a password-protected site?

Yes, JADA works on the session therefore it can work on anything the user has access to. We have what is called a “lazy process” that is deployed after the user enters the password-protected section.

What’s the company policy in terms of data security?

We take data security very seriously, our infrastructure is in San Francisco and managed by Digital Ocean, we have an entire DevOps team dedicated to this issue. On a regular basis, they make attempts to hack the system and otherwise test it in order to ensure the highest level of ongoing security.

How do you trigger accessibility on Mobile Devices?

Just like having a screen reader for a website, a blind person uses assistive technology on their phone at all times. In order to listen to an announcement of a highlighted feature, the user taps one time. To activate that feature the user taps twice. When navigating through a website using a keyboard, the user will use TAB to move forward and Shift + TAB to move backwards throughout the page. For a touchscreen device a user will swipe right to navigate forwards and swipe left to navigate backwards. When using a website that has JADA, you immediately get an announcement to the assistive technology software stating that this website has accessibility adjustments. The user will swipe right and then tap twice in order to activate the screen reader adjustments.

What is an Alt Attribute and why does it matter for accessibility?

An alt attribute is text meant to be displayed in place of media, usually an image. The text is meant to explain or describe the image in the case that it cannot be properly rendered, or in the case of people using screen readers. Without alt attributes, images would not have any text describing them and people might just be told by a screen reader that they are navigating past an image, with no description. This is of course not acceptable, and part of why alt attributes are so important.

What are ARIA labels and why do they matter for accessibility?

ARIA labels are important for accessibility purposes because they label otherwise anonymous html elements. For instance, most people would think there’s no need to label a Facebook or Instagram link/icon because the shape is universally recognizable. That may be true for people who can see. For those who cannot, ARIA labels are needed to describe these icons and elements via a screen reader.

What Laws Do I Need To Comply With?

The ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other laws exist in the United States to protect the rights of people with disabilities. While there has been debate in recent years as to specific statutes and whether they can be applied to websites, this was all clarified as of 2018 by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

While Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act states that websites must be accessible according to the WCAG, it only applies to government agencies and the large public corporations that work with them. The WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, are developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and are the only internationally recognized set of guidelines for web accessibility. The ADA, however, did not say anything at all about websites, and so people began filing suits related to web accessibility because it was clearly in the spirit of the law, but not the text, that websites should be accessible.

After thousands of these suits had been filed, the DOJ had to make a ruling on the issue. The DOJ stated then that all business websites are considered “places of public accommodations” and therefore must be made accessible to people with disabilities. It’s no different in principle from handicapped parking spaces and restrooms.

While the ADA still doesn’t have WCAG guidelines written into the text explicitly, every US court ruling on this issue, and every plaintiff bringing web accessibility complaints, ask for remediation based on the WCAG.

Outside the United States, there are laws ranging from AODA in Canada to EN 301549 in the EU that stipulate WCAG compliance in order to provide web accessibility. WCAG compliance at the AA level or higher is the best way to ensure that all people regardless of disability can use your website.

Browser Compatibility?

JADA functions with no problems on all modern browsers. You can feel free to use Safari, Firefox, Chrome or any other browser you’d like.

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