Why You Can’t Afford to Wait to Make Your Website Accessible

Jameson Management & Marketing

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait to Fix Accessibility on Your Website

1. Because web accessibility matters. 

Our world is online. It’s the way we function. Because technology is a need, not a privilege or luxury, to block communication with a segment of society is discriminatory against the individuals in those communities.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of the population lives with a disability.

Portions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA Title II and III specifically) state, “Public entities and private businesses must ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.”  

If the font size, colors, or overlays on your website are preventing someone who is blind or colorblind from using your website or services, then the case can definitely be made that effective communication is being blocked.

While we’ve slowly grown into our current online world since the 70s—when technology was indeed an entity of a privileged few—accessibility, common sense, laws, and understanding are taking longer to catch up. Too long.

A few key moments:

wcag timeline blog
Steps that have led to the creation of website accessibility best practices.

1990: the Americans with Disabilities Act. Passed before the internet as we know it existed, and people thought it referred mostly to physical spaces, like wheel chair ramps and braille signs.

1996: The DOJ declares websites to be public spaces. (DOJ)

1998: section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was updated to include digital content.

1999: Web accessibility 1.0 guidelines (W3C) were released (those guidelines were never made a clarifying part of accessibility law by the DOJ or any other party).

2016: First major lawsuit over web accessibility is won against Domino’s Pizza, paving the way for litigation, highlighting the lack of clarity in accessibility laws, promoting web accessibility from a lesser known issue championed by do-gooders to the level of awareness it deserves. 

2019: The Domino’s case was appealed and brought to the supreme court, who declined to over-rule the lower court’s decision.

(For more, check out this thorough history of web accessibility). 

It wasn’t until people who really cared enough to connect the dots between the accessibility standards and the laws began to push for a resolve between them (often by way of lawsuits), that the broader world began to wake up to the reality of the discriminatory nature of website inaccessibility. 

Because the Americans with Disabilities Act, the DOJ declaration, and the W3C guidelines are all separate things and there was nobody uniting them into a coherent set of laws that could be used in educational and tech spaces, application of such standards lagged far behind.

Lack of clarity or alignment between legality and standards isn’t the only reason the web building world has been dragging its feet. There are also rumors that Silicon Valley pushed hard against the DOJ adopting specific laws about accessibility standards because it would limit the type of software it could create. (Mashable).

But those aren’t good reasons. Just because big tech didn’t lead the way and laws are somewhat vague doesn’t mean web accessibility standards don’t exist or shouldn’t be used. 

2. Because it’s the next step in building a better world.

One day, the fact that major websites were unaccessible to blind people will be as strange and foreign as dial-up internet.

That’s the nature of good change. Until it happens, most people assume there’s a reason (an important one) that things are the way they are. Or that good change is impossible, or impractical.

Then, after a good change has been made and everybody gets used to it, everybody says, “wow, I never would have allowed things to be that way. I would have been one of the good guys who did something about it.”

But “now is the time for forward-thinking leaders to conduct an assessment of their digital assets and ask themselves if they want to be leading the charge to the future or scrambling to catch up.” (TPGI) It’s not enough to talk about the past and how we would have been one of the ones that created change. We have to help create the future. 

3. Because you can.

Website accessibility may be the number one reason to upgrade your website to the Dental Web 2.0 Platform. We have a growing team of web accessibility experts who are ready to help you achieve a more inclusive web experience for your patients. While many large tech companies have balked at the cost of redoing their entire website to meet current web accessibility standards (anywhere from thousands to millions for larger companies), the cost of not updating is proving to be much more. 

And the good news is that the dental websites that were already on the Dental Web 2.0 Platform get our web accessibility package updates included in their subscription. 

And if you’re not on it yet? By upgrading to the Dental Web 2.0 Platform today, you not only receive web accessibility baked into your website for now and the future, but you also receive a host of other additional benefits and lifetime updates. 

4. Because you’ll have to anyway.

The truth is that law firms are seeking out websites that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to target for litigation—and they’re winning settlements.

Over half of the top 500 websites have been the subject of an accessibility lawsuit in the last three years.

One of the reasons it’s taken so long to get to the place where the lawsuits are viable is that the standards of accessibility have been separate, in timeline and organization, from the laws about accessibility. But that doesn’t mean it should have been this way, just that companies have been able to get away with inaccessible websites because of the vagueness of the laws. Also, places of education haven’t baked standards of accessibility into their curriculum, since the standards themselves weren’t part of the laws. 

But that’s all changing with recent events. 

The First Major Accessibility Lawsuit

In 2016, a blind man sued Domino’s over its inaccessible website, arguing that he could not use their website to order pizza. The Supreme Court would not overrule the outcome of the lawsuit. 

This lawsuit was a landmark for legal action. More would follow.

Lawsuits are now brought by a handful of law firms that scan the internet and find websites that are not compliant in industries with the highest chance of being able to pay. As you can imagine, they are expensive and can range from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. 

Unfortunately, there is no automated solution for making websites compliant. Overlays, commonly touted as the easy solution to web accessibility, actually get in the way of voiceovers, so while trying to solve one problem, they create many others. This resource contains more about the problems with accessibility overlays. This video shows the interaction between a user who is blind and a website with an accessibility overlay.

A high percentage of dental marketing companies rely on accessibility overlays, and they are making the problem worse.

There is good news for dental websites on the Dental Web 2.0 Platform, however. Website clients who subscribe to this service from Jameson Marketing are being updated to accessibility standards and will continue to receive accessibility revisions and support.

But if you are not on this platform, you leave your website unprotected against accessibility lawsuits. You also leave a whole segment of the population out of your community.


The clarity of the laws around web accessibility will continue to evolve. Accessibility is common sense and a right. Soon, all websites will be required to adhere to some standardized set of rules for accessibility. And before that point, all websites are in danger of litigation, especially in health and care industries.

Real feedback from website users subjected to “quick” fixes to accessibility such as a plugin.

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