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  1. #1
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    Default ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    I really hate to bring this question forward but my attorney just told me that he has clients getting sued over this and settlements are around 35 grand per website in the USA.

    It looks that there was an act passed years ago called ADA which helps disabled people when going to a store, etc. It's now being used to target websites that are not set up for blind people to read the site. I wouldn't believe this was true except that businesses are settling for 35 grand because judges are finding in favor of the plaintiffs. Google it, you'll see it's a real thing. It made Forbes magazine and I'm six degrees of separation close to someone getting sued for over a hundred grand for a clothing site? that is not friendly to the blind. I still find it hard to believe this is an actual concern for small businesses but it is.

    Is Zen ADA compliant or might you make it compliant? What a great advertisement for you by the way. IT's why some choose managed carts over self management, all the blasted law suits.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    Some info on accessibility:

    https://docs.zen-cart.com/user/template/accessibility/

    1.5.7 had a great deal of work on accessibility added to it, which is another reason to upgrade if you haven't already.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    a few articles on the subject:

    https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2...-main-targets/

    https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/su...ility-9470297/

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit...ng-11626369056

    from one of the articles:

    “I don’t want to in any way diminish the value of ADA compliance. I think it makes a lot of sense,” Overstreet says. But he adds that the plaintiffs’ law firms in digital accessibility cases are “vermin” that actively seek out companies to sue and file numerous lawsuits at once.

    this is from another guy:

    Yep, and they have spiders that crawl websites for Ada compliance and auto-send massive extortion emails, we have had a lot of clients get these. I think XXX had to pay off one for $50k.

    that said, CA companies are getting targeted by scumbag lawyers and unfortunately the lawyers are winning cases.

    while ZC has made some valiant/efforts and strides in this arena, i have found that installing accessibe is the easiest way to make your site ADA compliant and prevent these lawsuits. when a spider sees this code on your site, they ignore it and move on.

    one line of javascript, and they handle the rest.

    best.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    I'll start out with the fact that I am not speaking on behalf of Zen Cart, the Developer Team, or any other member(s) of the forum. If you see we in the following text, it refers to myZenCartHost (our hosting company) or JEANDRET (our parent company)

    I've been asked to respond to this as the person who worked on getting responsive_classic for 1.5.7c compliant with ADA/WCAG guidelines. I am also working towards the same goal with Bootstrap. We (development team included) did not get responsive_classic perfect out of the box before release but, most pages were showing 100% ADA/WCAG compliance. Note that we (development team included) did not touch the admin which should also be done as a safety precaution.

    Why then, you may ask is it not touted as compliant? Just like any product, the minute someone modifies it, that very modification may break it's compliaince.

    Yes, accessibility lawsuits are a big problem and getting worse every day. One person contacted a lawyer immediately upon notice of a lawsuit. The lawyer said they did not have a website for that very reason.

    Accessibiliity requirements for the web started here in the US with 508 accessibility around 1998. My baptism under fire came when I was hired by TRICARE to make their website compatible. Then, the act only covered businesses doing direct transactions with the US government. Still, I knew it would continue on, as it should. BTW, their current site has alt tag problems.

    20% of the population has some disability that makes it difficult to use a website. If you had a brick and mortar, would you lock 20% of the doors to your business? Would you like to have 20% more business? Of course you would.

    Let's take two small examples of 1.5.7c's responsive_classic versus Bootstrap. Bootstrap can be the best thing but, it is way not ready for ADA/WCAG. Poor developers? ABSOLUTELY NOT! No one is an expert in all things. I'm still trying to figure GitHub out completely so I can help more there.

    In the Demo for 1.5.7c, whether using R_C or the Boot, there are three boxes that have dropdown selections. Manuifacturers, Music Genres, and Record Companies. If you click on please select and then use your down arrrow to attempt to move down the list, it will work in R_C and take you to the next page in Boot. That is a result of using onChange versus onClick in the JavaScript AND a non-ADA/WCAG compliant action on the part of the Bootstrap template.

    Example 2. If you do not load demo data originally, you may never place an item on special. However, the minute you decide to put the widgets on special, you are going to wind up failing a contrast guideline just by adding the special in Boot. This does not happen in R_C due to the template already set to give the correct color contrast. Why the problem? We are so used to just putting red on white in the case of a special. "It's been that way forever." Yet, red on white fails on all normal text and most large text. There are A, AA, and AAA standards. You'have to drop down to #EB0000 for AA compliance and #B30000 for AAA compliance. It's interesting to note that red on BLACK passes all but the AAA standard for normal text.

    Again, you cannot fault anyone connected with Boostrap as they may have never had to deal with compatibility before. https://jeandret.com is a demo load of bootstrap for 1.5.7c. If you hover over a category, you'll see the blue background disappear, and the text change to a gray. That's non-compliant. In fact, the site has over 160 contrast errors. Combine that with the inability to use a keyboard and incorrect red and you wind up being "low-hanging fruit" on the money tree. The JEANDRET team was already working on fixing this but it is a slow process. Just in dealing with a link (the a tag) you have to think about foreground and background for a, a:hover, a:link, a:active, and a:visited. That five things to consider for every link button like the categories in the categoriesTabs bar at the top of the page.

    Just for the simple fact that no one can keep track of what you, a co-worker, hired techie, or your 12 year old nephew does to your site on a 24/7 basis, NO ONE can guarantee full compliance beyond the instant they fix something. Seconds later, any change could make it non-compliant in some way. I often wonder if even the Accessibility folks know that there web guy is making them look - well, less than competent.

    If you go to the first link presented by carlwhat above, there is some good information. It's really hard to find info on ada.gov unless you know that they call it "Accessible Technology". Yet, doing a WebAIM check of the digitalcommerce360 site shows 38 errors, 35 contrast errors, and 12 alerts. Note that WebAIM checks WCAG but not necessarily all of the ADA guidelines. An ADA testing tool shows 16 elements with no name, an alert on the text over a picture (the alert is to have us check and, in fact, they did put a background behind the text to "guarantee" compliance with contrast), 3 actual contrast fails, and 112 areas that need a human look to know for sure.

    You can even be non-compliant due to hidden content. Just because you don't see it in the browser doesn't mean it can't be "seen" by text readers and Search Engines. The SEs might be blind to your images but, they can see code you didn't know existed. Again, the first site listed by carlwhat has 24 hidden elements with one of them non-compliant.

    The information presented by that site? Spot on. Still, I don't think they told the web guys about ADA/WCAG or gave them a checklist to follow.

    If anyone thinks this is not going to be the "Next Big Thing" you only need to look at the top line of the accessiBe website. Investors are throwing money at them. They would probably get five sharks on Shark Tank.

    When I first saw the accessiBe site, I was impressed at first but began to have my doubts. They use their own widget on their site which says
    accessiBe uses contextual understanding and image recognition to scan and analyze the functionality of every element on your website and adjusts it for screen reader accessibility
    If that IS true and they are running this on their own site, why do they have 3 Elements with no name, an aria-hidden alert, 29 images where the alt tag is not used, 7 reference alerts, 2 link alerts, a keyboard access alert, 14 contrast alerts with 5 manual tests needed, and 1,021 hidden elements! Agreed some of those would not effect a screen reader but, most do.

    Seriously, what is keeping them from being sued? You can see why I became a BIG sceptic of all of this the more I delved into it. A magic wand, you say? Please sir, may I have two? The magic wand is actually spelled hard work.

    I'll back up a little here and say that something like accessiBe is a good addon to help that 20% of the population who need it. Is it a cure for compliance? Absolutely NOT. If it were, their website should be a LOT more compliant.

    You as a store owner are responsible for the compliance of your site. Get that done FIRST, then think about the addition of something like accessiBe.

    COMMERCIAL ALERT

    Not being that enthused with accessiBe and especially hesitant to spend the money they charge, I started looking at options. Like most of the folks on this forum, my goal was to make Zen Cart better, my site(s) better, and (in our company's case) possibly provide accessiBe-type service at an affordable price and provide the Zen Cart Team (I am not a member of the team) with some "coffee" along the way.

    I have already been in discussions with the Team to add our ADA/WCAG widget to the Zen Cart Certified Services Page. That means the Team gets a portion of all sales that came from the Services Link. After you check out acccessiBe, take a look at what a different (I think better) widget can do at https://jeandret.com.

    Clicking on the widget at either site shows they are very similar. However, when accessiBe is set to Italian, only the widget text is changed whereas the one at jeandret changes the site text as well. And, it will read the text to the customer in the selected language! I can't vouch for the accuracy but it's based the Google translator.

    I have a family member with dyslexia. He's a smart, articulate person that you would never think had any problem until you see him try to read a computer manual or any lengthy text. If you scroll to about halfway down the widget on jeandret, you'll find an "Aa - Dyslexia Friendly" option. Clicking it changes the site font to something that dyslexics can use to better understand the text. Again, this feature is not found in accessiBe.

    There are more subtle differences but, those two are pretty significant to me.

    Again, I'm obliged to remind you that neither product can fix your site or guarantee something you do tomorrow won't ruin your accessiblity. Both widgets are mainly designed to help that extra 20%.

    Is the claim that having either installed on your site prevents lawsuits really accurate? If you have done due diligence on your site, having an accessibilty widget on your site certainly gets you higher up in that fruit tree. And, most of the lawyers would rather grab that "low-hanging fruit" than having to go to the expense of buying a ladder.

    As always, you the buyer make the choice.

    Meanwhile, if you head over to https://webaim.org, you can find a lot of good information. AND, if you enter your URL at https://wave.webaim.org, it will give you an idea of how compliant your site is today. If you get a 406 error, someone may be trying to block testers in an atttempt to hide from those "fruit pickers". A quick change of tools on one site like that found 48 contrast errors.

    There's no place to hide. It helps with Google ranking. It helps 20% of the population. Accessibility is the most important thing to do after making your whole site secure with an SSL.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    Quote Originally Posted by muah View Post
    It looks that there was an act passed years ago called ADA which helps disabled people when going to a store, etc. It's now being used to target websites that are not set up for blind people to read the site. I wouldn't believe this was true except that businesses are settling for 35 grand because judges are finding in favor of the plaintiffs.
    It started years ago and has been spreading ever since.
    https://arstechnica.com/uncategorize...sibility-suit/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    my last post on this thread.

    i do not agree with any number of statements made here. most of which are NOT related to accessibility (of which @dbltoe knows a LOT); but are related to logic, as well as opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbltoe View Post
    If you go to the first link presented by carlwhat above, there is some good information. It's really hard to find info on ada.gov unless you know that they call it "Accessible Technology". Yet, doing a WebAIM check of the digitalcommerce360 site shows 38 errors, 35 contrast errors, and 12 alerts. Note that WebAIM checks WCAG but not necessarily all of the ADA guidelines. An ADA testing tool shows 16 elements with no name, an alert on the text over a picture (the alert is to have us check and, in fact, they did put a background behind the text to "guarantee" compliance with contrast), 3 actual contrast fails, and 112 areas that need a human look to know for sure.
    checking said site for accessibility is an exercise in what? (a rhetorical question....) it only demonstrates to me how hard it is. nor does said site use the tool of which i have advocated (actually i did not check, but i'm pretty confident it does not).

    spending 20 seconds on the webaim.org, i was able to generate a 403 error:

    Name:  Screenshot from 2021-11-15 07-57-00.jpg
Views: 103
Size:  22.2 KB

    should we now infer said site has no business being on the internet? (again, a rhetorical question...)

    again, getting back to my original point on logic, and being sensitive to anyone's particular situation, i am frequently reminded about insensitivity to sample size; a concept i learned about oh so many years ago.

    in addition, since when did investors pouring a ton of money into a project become a negative thing? apparently, some people, no doubt smarter than me, think the project is worth investing in. oh, had i wished i poured money into any number of investments rather than the crap in my portfolio....

    finally, as i previously stated, this will be my last thread on this topic. i am frequently affected by recency bias; being aware of said cognitive bias has helped me make better decisions. (although not in my portfolio...)

    opinions expressed here are mine; and no person, said or unsaid, has asked me to respond.

    best.
    help with WCAG is now here! PM if you want some help with this. (or any ZC issue).
    if you feel so inclined, feel free to send some cake....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    So, here is the odd question...

    For compliance do we need to change our entire website to always be in compliance or just have a compliant alternative theme that the user can select?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    Quote Originally Posted by carlwhat View Post

    in addition, since when did investors pouring a ton of money into a project become a negative thing? apparently, some people, no doubt smarter than me, think the project is worth investing in. oh, had i wished i poured money into any number of investments rather than the crap in my portfolio....
    What's got two thumbs and decided not to buy Amazon at $20 in the early 2000's because "they'll never make money?"
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    Quote Originally Posted by carlwhat View Post
    spending 20 seconds on the webaim.org, i was able to generate a 403 error:

    Name:  Screenshot from 2021-11-15 07-57-00.jpg
Views: 103
Size:  22.2 KB

    should we now infer said site has no business being on the internet? (again, a rhetorical question...)
    No, it's a feeble attemptt at preventing someone to check the site. They've probably done so beecause the Chrome Web Tools has WebAIM built in and they might think it will protect them from all the Chrome users. WebAIM in Chrome will tell you that it looks like they used Mod Security to block access to the tester itself.

    This is a bandaid rather than a fix as several other tools can be used to test the site. One of those is available at https://github.com/SSAgov/ANDI

    That tool will show you the multiple errors on the accessibe.com site. Again, it's a good tool. Both are. Neither can fix what the web guy or the dev did wrong. I did not include the whole statement from their site but, one of the things it purports to do is fix ARIA Attributes. Yet, it has four alerts one of which is actually tagged
    Code:
    aria-hidden="true"
    Using ANDI, I randomly picked four of the sites using the accessiBe tool. All had alerts that could result in litigation. One had two title tags. That's a double whammy as the Search Engines won't like that one.

    I hope that folks don't rely too much on that statement or one like it on any site. There is no magic wand to bypass hard work on your part.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ADA Compliance And no kidding, getting sued over it

    Quote Originally Posted by g2ktcf View Post
    So, here is the odd question...

    For compliance do we need to change our entire website to always be in compliance or just have a compliant alternative theme that the user can select?
    If you have to have the customer click something to see a compliant site, that means any tester will see the non-compliant site.

    Plus, if you build a compliant template, why not use it first? Why test fate? If it's the color scheme, you can always get close by establishing your colors and then finding their contrasts. Googling contrasting color wheel will get you several online tools to help.
    Last edited by dbltoe; 15 Nov 2021 at 07:27 PM. Reason: misspell

 

 
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