Knowledge Versus Skill-Based Corporate Training and Certification Programs
Expectations for digital accessibility and disability inclusion have never been higher. These are no longer feel good cultural and social responsibility initiatives. Digital accessibility and ADA compliance are prioritized strategic objectives with realizable business impacts. However, many organizations are left trying to solve a few big questions on the path to digital accessibility compliance.
- How do we become ADA compliant?
- How do we manage digital accessibility ongoing?
- How do we know we’re getting this right?
To get it right, businesses and governmental organizations typically leverage corporate training and certification programs to overcome talent, culture, and organizational gaps. Previously, the only corporate training and certification programs available on digital accessibility were knowledge-based.
Unlike cybersecurity, leadership, communications, and artificial intelligence, success criteria for meeting Section 508 and WCAG compliance are widely available and free. Further, innumerous help articles on tactics, strategy, and guides for implementing digital accessibility best-practices exist.
The core problem surrounding the complexity, ambiguity, and notorious difficulty of achieving and maintaining digital accessibility compliance is the following. No available bridge previously existed bringing talent from the acquisition of knowledge to the application of skill.
Even Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Salesforce, and Adobe are still unable to comprehensively and effectively achieve digital accessibility compliance. This is not conjecture. This understanding derives from first-hand observations from working directly with their B2B delivery teams, as users of their products, and many being sued repeatedly for their digital assets not being ADA compliant.
Money. Law. Opportunity. This Is How We Got Here
Many big companies like this are working hard to correct their compliance gaps, but there is a short list of things that drive change. Number 1, money. Number 2, the law. Both working together is how we got here.
Kraft and Peltz of FRB Law report website accessibility lawsuits against businesses rose to 814 in 2017! Just five short years later, the number of ADA website accessibility lawsuits soared to 3,225. Legal compliance smells a lot like opportunity.
UsableNET forecasts website accessibility compliance lawsuits will reach 4220 in 2023 with a majority of digital accessibility lawsuits focusing on SMB and mid-market US businesses.
Driven by legality and capitalism, many digital accessibility businesses and software companies subsequently organized. Today, the annual digital accessibility market in the US has grown to over $500M with projections of reaching $769.5 Million in 2028.
Some companies get sued and then settle. Others settle as soon as they receive a demand letter. ADA website accessibility defense lawyer Kris Rivenburgh estimates 80% of ADA website accessibility claims are settled between $8,000 and $17,000 per lawsuit. This is likely much lower for those who only receive a demand letter and those experienced in managing ADA accessibility legal threats.
While lawyers are firing off ADA lawsuits as fast as they can copy and paste, businesses have accordingly suffered through the “traditional accessibility audit” process.
Traditional accessibility audits are usually time, resource, and economically intensive in relationship to their outcomes. This “traditional accessibility audit” process-test, report, remediate, and QA test to ensure accessibility fixes are implemented correctly-takes weeks or months to overcome all the violations and achieve ADA compliance.
What traditional audit process is not painful? Who wants to see an Excel spreadsheet with dozens of accessibility violations on their website and no clue how to fix them?
This pain paved the way for artificial intelligence and technology-first companies to emerge marketing and advertising big promises.