Hi, fellow designers. I hope you’re all healthy and doing well.
I searched in the forum and found no posts about accessibility, only a few comments about it. So I wanted to bring it up. Unfortunately, this topic has not been front of mind to many designers and developers, but it needs to be.
I’ve been in the accessibility world for the past 4 years, designing and remediating InDesign files and designing and developing accessible websites.
Just this week, I heard from someone who posted in a Facebook group that her client got slapped with an accessibility (ADA) claim. To settle the matter, they are looking at $7,500 to $10k in legal fees plus any other costs that may arise. They asked her what she would be willing to contribute to them.
Someone (wrongly) suggested that she just use an accessibility overlay, which only causes more problems and doesn’t solve the existing ones.
I’ve heard similar stories in accessibility groups as well. In one case, a plaintiff sued a restaurant and the web developers. In another, a large company was sued and forced to pay a hefty settlement, then went after the developers for some of that.
I don’t mean to scare you. I’m trying to help prevent this from happening to you.
As design experts, we need to bring this up to clients.
Clients should know if they need to comply with the ADA, Section 508 (U.S. laws) or another accessibility law. But clients who aren’t required to comply with these laws have still been sued.
Designers and developers need to also protect themselves if the client declines accessibility or if they don’t bring it up.
It doesn’t just affect websites though. In remediating InDesign files that would be exported to PDFs, I’ve had to modify a client’s brand color palette to make it accessible, so they could be compliant. So the client spent who knows what to have a color palette developed, then it needed to be changed because this wasn’t brought up at that time.
Because most web designers and developers are not talking to clients about this and do not possess these skills, it happens to be a great way to stand out from the pack.
It’s also the right thing to do, and it results in more usable electronic documents and websites.
I’ve put together some resources to help you get started understanding this if you’re interested. I welcome any questions here or privately as well.