Waste of Money: ADA Website Compliance Products and Services That Aren’t Worth The Cost

People waste so much money with website accessibility, and the reason they waste money is because they don’t understand what they are buying and what they need. So those are two essentials when you are in the marketplace. And yet people are they feel a sense of urgency to do something and they end up making a lot of mistakes when purchasing products and services.

So sharing the screen with me is a document, the heading is Common ADA Compliance Money Wasters. And one of the ways people waste money is by buying overlay widgets. And it doesn’t matter how cheap they are, even if it’s $50 a month or whatever it is a year, it’s still an ongoing subscription where you are paying and getting back nothing in return.

The only thing you’re getting back in return is something where you have decided in your head that you are getting back something in return. Because accessibility, overlay widgets, they don’t make your website accessible, they don’t make your website conformant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and they don’t prevent lawsuits.

So plaintiffs law firms disregard them and will send a demand letter or file a complaint in court regardless of whether an overlay widget is installed. And we can prove this from the data. So if you go to overlayfalseclaims.com, we can see there’s a PDF report where I think they have 200 different instances where someone had an overlay widget installed and they nevertheless got sued.

So overlay widgets do nothing. They don’t prevent lawsuits, they don’t make your website accessible, and so you’re really paying for nothing. And a lot of people just feel better about having purchased something. They want to believe in the hype that the overlay widget vendors are selling.

And so they end up wasting their money that way, but they get nothing in return. Monitoring is another money waster. So monitoring, it can involve having an automated scan run, let’s say daily or weekly, whatever it is, and then a report is sent on the pages that are scanned, and then that report identifies different accessibility issues.

Monitoring, and we’ll get to this in the next bullet point. With premium scans, monitoring does really nothing for you because for you to actually get value out of monitoring your website for accessibility issues, you have to fix those issues as they are being identified.

And so your resources are limited, right? Like if you could fix them instantly, that would be perfect, but you can’t. And moreover, the monitoring is going to return results from any number of pages, so it really can get to something that’s overwhelming.

So with monitoring, you have to ask yourself, how can I leverage this to actually get an ROI out of it? And you really can’t, because if you could, you would really just go and use a free scan and scan the different pages and then take action based on those free scans because you can only do so much.

So why are you attempting to monitor, let’s say, a 25 page website, and have those issues sent to you. Further, if we go down that path, if someone is uploading content or editing a website so that the code is inaccessible and results in an accessibility issue that’s detected by a scan, then you need to train that person so that they are not introducing the error.

So you don’t really want to invest in monitoring because it’s headed in the wrong direction. Rather, you should invest in accessibility so that you have trained your staff, your contractors, so that they are not introducing accessibility issues.

And also, we all know that automated scans are limited in the number of issues that they can detect. So monitoring, even of itself, even as it is, would be incomplete. So you’re not getting all of the issues that you would be if automated scans could flag everything.

So there’s really like, you just have to ask yourself, okay, if I get monitoring, what am I actually doing? How am I advancing accessibility, or how am I lowering my risk of litigation? And if you can’t identify that, then there’s really no use for monitoring.

So it’s great to know if an accessibility issue comes up, but we really shouldn’t be at that point, we should really be making sure that no accessibility issues are introduced altogether. There really shouldn’t be accessibility issues that are being introduced.

On the third bullet point, premium scans, this is going to be similar to monitoring. So you’re going to get reports, they’re going to look nice, you’re going to have any number of customizable columns and figures and possible, like the number of accessibility issues, the number of conformance level A issues, conformance level, AA issues, and so on.

But there’s no real value because, again, you cannot take action on all of these reports, right? Like, if you could, then you would just run a scan at whatever interval you wanted to and decide what pages you’re going to run on and then resolve those issues.

But as it is, there’s nothing you can do with these premium scans that are returning all of these accessibility issues. You can only remediate one page at a time, maybe two pages at a time, and that’s going to be the extent of it.

So with premium scans, the one exception is authentication for non public pages. So in that case, I can see some value because you can log in to different pages and see those pages even though they’re not publicly available.

So with a free scan, you will need pages that are publicly available, and in this case, you could authenticate using a premium scan. So there is some value there, but it’s important not to place too much emphasis on scans because they are limited.

And you don’t need to pay for this large number of pages because you can’t take action on it. If you have this, let’s say, 50 page website, and you want to find all the accessibility issues, that’s fine, but you’re not going to be able to take action on page 49.

You can only take action one page at a time. And that’s why I recommend free scans, because you can only work through so many URLs. There’s no need to have results from all of these different pages.

And further, if you take action on these initial pages, you can likely resolve the issues on the later pages. So it’s overwhelming for a lot of teams and it’s unnecessary. So a lot of people waste money on premium scans.

They get sold on the premium scan. They usually get sold under the pretense that it will prevent litigation. But the only way to prevent litigation is to actually take action. And to take action, you’re going to need to focus in on one page at a time.

And if that is the case, then why do you need results for 100 pages? And then last, people waste money with audits. And so audits are a good thing. Audits are very helpful. They identify all of the accessibility issues.

In theory, if the auditor is good, it will identify all or almost all of the accessibility issues located within the given scope for the audit. And the problem is, when you don’t act upon those, eventually the audit loses its freshness and you would really need to audit the entire website all over again from the start.

And so the audit at that point will have served no purpose. So you must take action upon the audit for the audit to return value. If you don’t do anything with the audit, it’s a complete waste of money.

And I’ve seen audits many times be wasted. There might be some work that’s done and then things get put to the side, another project gets started, the website has changed. And if that’s the case, then you are wasting the money that you have paid for an audit.

And all of the time and energy and expertise that has gone in, gone into performing the audit and creating the audit report, that’s all been wasted. So while audits are a positive, a plus, I recommend them, I think they are great to have.

If you don’t take action upon them, they’re a complete waste of money because they will become stale. So I think those are four common ways that I think of that people waste money when trying to make their website Ada compliant.

Of course, there can be more ways, but these are the primary ways where I see a tremendous amount of money being wasted, and each of these comes at a significant cost. With monitoring and premium scans, you’re getting into the thousands of dollars, potentially audits, again, thousands of dollars.

And just understand with scans that you can only take action upon so many things at once. And there are really good free scans available. So WAVE is a good, simple and basic scan that you can take action on it is free for single pages.

The AXE scan is another really good scan. It’s more advanced, it’s more technically advanced, and it will flag more issues. But both scans are really strong, very helpful, and they’re completely free for single pages.

Remember, you, like, can only work on one page at a time.