I’m on containerstore.com and what’s important is the- there is a link at the very top, in small gray font, on the right labeled, “enable accessibility”.
And so when you enable accessibility a more accessible version of the website is rendered.
Now the website, the homepage as we’re on, it looks exactly the same, nothing has changed as far as the visual appearance that I can tell.
But when you do go down you will see at the very bottom of the screen, in the footer, it’s titled, “Accessibility Enabled”. It says, “You are using the www.containerstore.com site with accessibility enabled it has all the same content and features but it’s formatted with assistive users in mind and is tested for accessibility. This is not a separate site, it’s a dynamic remediation of the original site that uses unique technology from Usablenet to ensure assistive users have full access to all content and features. If you have any accessibility issues please sure- please e-mail us for web accessibility support. Usablenet Assistive is a Usablenet product.”
One note, the term “assistive users” is strange to me.
But anyways, this is- this is a custom overlay and so custom overlays are distinct from the traditional overlays such as AccessiBe and UserWay because those overlays are just providing a general menu of supposed accessibility options to change how your site is rendered.
This overlay is specifically made for a website to make that website accessible.
But as I’ve covered in a previous video, to me there is one major problem and that problem is is that you have to activate accessibility.
That’s never where you want to go. You want to just make your website fundamentally accessible. You don’t want there to be anything where you have to enable accessibility, you don’t want to have to click to activate accessibility.
You want accessibility- you want accessibility to be inherent in the website and practically I will show you why this can be problematic.
And I’m now clicking on to another tab and there are two complaints filed against containerstore.com.
One is from the Wilshire Law Firm and this is in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California and I’m scrolling down and it’s in the website mentioned is containerstore.com/welcome and that’s the that’s the home page for the Container Store.
And there is another PDF, another complaint filed in court this time it’s in the Superior Court of California in and for the county of Los Angeles. And this is from Manning Law APC and again we will see that I’m scrolling down just to find a home page – the home page is containerstore.com.
So I will link these two PDFs below.
Importantly one was filed on March 30th 2022 and another was filed on September 29th 2021 and what I’ve done is I’ve gone to Archive.com and I pulled up the Container Store homepage and on August 4th 2021, that same enable accessibility link was available on Container Store.
And presumably it has been since and so my point with this archive screenshot is that this predates any complaint filed so it was there and practically you know you can argue whether or not this makes your website accessible.
My opinion is it doesn’t. You just- it needs to your website needs to be accessible, that’s what you need to move for.
But it does- it is this would be more of what is thought of as a stopgap or a temporary holdover for accessibility versus just having a generic overlay, what we traditionally think of overlay- this is much, much better.
But it’s still not where you want to be and practically what we’ve what we see is plaintiffs’ law firms are not looking for ways in which your website could be accessible
They’re simply going to it and if there is- if there is any reason for them to find something find a way that it’s inaccessible, they’re not- that’s they’re not going to look and look for things in your favor and and I think that’s where I I hear so many people talk and they’re looking through the technicalities.
And if this is not a technical argument. This is largely the plaintiffs are in control of whether litigation comes against you.
So if you’re going to have something like this, yes it may make for a more usable experience a more accessible experience but practically this is this is not going to stop plaintiffs’ law firms and then and in this case it shows that it didn’t. Maybe in some cases it does, but to me you have to make your website accessible this is only a partial- this is only like a pseudo fix.
It’s not a permanent fix and so in this case it was problematic and there was one other thing I wanted to cover – I can’t remember, I will if I think of the other thing in the- I will add that to the description.
But I just wanted to cover that this was using Usablenet Assistive. It is a custom overlay- it was made specifically for the Container Store but it did not stop two complaints from being filed on the same website.