Michael McCaffrey: Making Your Website Accessible to Disabled Users with ADA Sure

Are you worried your site isn't easily accessible? 

Ensuring access to information is a key component of the ADA, and it is critical for every organization to make it available.

ADASure is committed to helping your business achieve legal requirements and developing content and programs that are easily accessible. From your existing site’s compliance needs to future development, ADASure offers solutions and opportunities that benefit your customers and your company.

Their mission is to “Prevent lawsuits and provide a better, more accessible site for everyone”

ADASure focuses on identifying issues with your site and correcting them, giving you peace of mind that your site is compliant with everyone. This takes the worry out of your hands and allows you to spend your time focusing on growing and developing your business.

ADASure offers many options for consultation, education, and development resources, including a complete audit and analysis of your website content, a full explanation of each error, as well as examples of corrected pages, a website consultation with your development team, a comparison with your competitors’ site, and much more.

Learn more about how ADASure can help you protect your business' legal status by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my influence.com where we turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. So we believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Even you stick around to the end of this show, where I'll share info on how you could be our next guest, three times a week, five to 15 minutes each learn from successful business owners and professionals. It's time to get inspired. Let's go.

All right, Michael McCaffrey, you are the founder and partner of ADA Sure. Thank you so much for joining us. Happy to be here. So Michael, tell me so at a short, can you kind of explain what it is that you do because I think this is going to open up a number of questions I think a lot of people have. And I'm so glad that you're on the show to be able to help answer these questions.

Sure. Yeah, really, just very briefly, what we do is we make the internet accessible to disabled users. So websites, apps, you know, we make it so that a blind user is able to have the same experience as anyone else. So that's really the heart of what we do.

Sure. So aside from wanting to make sure that we, you know, a website is accessible to the greatest number of people, certainly someone that might be used to great here's another website, that's it's like, not easy to use. Are there laws there? Obviously, there are laws that are designed to to make using a business's website. festival.


And can you kind of explain? I mean, in your non I know you're not an attorney, but explain what the law is essentially. Sure. It's really

the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was enacted in 1990. Really 1998 is when it was updated to start to include digital properties. That's when websites were starting to, you know, come about so 98 is really when we we have these rules called the WCAG, the web content and accessibility guidelines. That's what the ADA uses to determine if this website's accessible or not. So you would when you're building a website, the idea is that if you adhere to these WC ag guidelines, then you're pretty sure that any kind of assistive technology that a blind person or hearing impaired person may use, you're going to be operable with that. So that's really the heart of it. The ADA calls out the WCAG guidelines.

And that's what we're so what happened What happens is if a large company is not following those guidelines?

Sure. So what what really is what sticks out is the issue. So like, let's say, like, if there's a large pizza company, right, and they have an app, and most people are ordering pizzas through an app and their website, and let's say, for example, if there's coupons, they're only available, you know, you login, create an account and you have special coupons. The really the heart of the ADA looks at that different and an inferior experience for that user, right? So if that person is not able to get those coupons are not able to access those coupons, because it's not accessible. That is when we start seeing litigation come out, because you know, you have a disabled class of users who suddenly have to pay more for the same pizza just because the websites not accessible.

So, okay, so this applies to large companies, how about medium and small companies?

there and so that's good. There are there Are specifics in there, it's companies have to have a minimum of five people. So this isn't really, you know, it's not so much targeted mom and pop shops they're looking at, is it a retailer is there are you as in an e commerce site where there are special offers and purchases that really one class of people cannot use, but a local store that just has information on location in hours? Yeah, that's, that's really at the heart of litigation. It's more kind of the larger and e commerce sites.

So how do we know what that level is?

of the accessibility?

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I want to know, like, Okay, so my company's you know, we're doing seven figures now. Is that you know, is it number of employees? Is it number of customers? Is it your footprint within a certain geography, or the

exemption I heard was, if it's less than five people, it's exempt. So it's small company just getting started less than five people. That's the only one that I'm aware of that exempts a user from having an accessible website. Ideally, everyone's site is accessible. But when you see a lot of the litigation that's happening now, it is really focused on the e commerce sites. And again, it's a federal law, so anywhere in the US is applicable. And it's really kind of that site where if a disabled users going to have a different experience, and it's going to cause them to pay more or not be able to, you know, order something, that's really what this litigation is about right now.

And what is the likelihood that, that that a business might, you know, get complaints, you know, be potentially subject to litigation. I mean, I helped me play the odds here because I think a lot of people might be thinking, Okay, look, we'll address it if we get a complaint, but for right now we have so many other things that we're worried about. Yeah, I

can understand that. Sure. So really the people who are at risk when you when you have a you have a website, and you also have a physical location, this is one that we're seeing the largest like, because with really the there's something called the Nexus. So if a disabled person would have to go into that store to make the same purchase at anyone else can make online. That's a huge red flag right there. So that nexus of tying into it's a website plus a physical location. They're really that's what the ADA is really focused on. But a small brochure website, kind of informational website, obviously should still be accessible. That's not really where the litigation is coming into right now. And it's and it's interesting because, as a court is setting the precedence now it's it's In a way, it's kind of growing and evolving. So it's kind of an interesting time.

And still, are there? I mean, are there organizations? Are there predatory litigators out there? Are there? Are there people that are specifically going out to try to shake down businesses? Because they might not be compliant?

Yeah, I mean, of course there is there's going to be that I think you see that in kind of any, any industry where there's some type of opportunity so that just with the ADA facilities, you know, back in the 90s, with companies that maybe a parking spot or wasn't met didn't meet code or a website, a bathroom wasn't up to specification, so right, you do you do see that, but then there's also there are vigilant organizations and National Foundation for the Blind. And there there's, you know, groups of people who are literally, you know, focused on how do we get the word out building awareness so that this this law is, you know, people adhere to it, you have kind of the the Food and Drug Administration, for example, there is an enforcement arm out there that is making sure companies comply with the regulations that's absent from the ADA, there isn't a government enforcement body that's going after these companies. So you do have organizations that are doing it for the good will, you know, intend to make these websites and apps accessible? And it's not sort of that search by lawsuits? It's actually, you know, how do we change perception and make this so it's a common practice that people build accessible websites from the start? Yeah,

yeah. So what do you think the I mean, you know, granted, like we do want to, I think most business owners obviously, would, would probably feel badly if someone who is visually impaired came to their website and it was horrible experience. I think that the you know, most of us would be like, Oh, well shoot, I don't want that to happen.

What What do you think the, you know, kind of the minimum everybody should do? would be Are there any best practices there? Absolutely. And that's the WCAG guidelines. Look, there's definitely a miss understanding. A lot of this is just simple foundational practices. So a really a good example is a website that may be, it could be, you know, let's say it's a college or it is any type of entity that's making, you know, their sales, and maybe they have a promotion, maybe, you know, there's a registration fee for college is waived, and during a certain semester, or there is a company that's having a special offer, really, that add that's being built. It's literally one extra line of code that's been available, it should be, you know, all you have to do is update that so it can explain the offer very briefly to someone with the screen reader. So it's not really implementing new technology. It's using what's already out there. It's just kind of that awareness. As of You know what, when we do have an ad, and we put the ad on our website, we have to add a description to it so that everyone can hear it. So it's basic design principles. It's just kind of that awareness and understanding where if you aren't aware of that, you're not even going to realize you need to include that.

So, and Michael, who are who are your clients, and what is the problem that you solve for them?

Sure. So companies come to us to to kind of most mostly it's ecommerce companies, we have some colleges, retailers, hotels, and it's really those companies that have its location somewhere, they have a physical presence, and they have the website and they have that disjointed experience. So we are finding two types of people. One, it's being people who are proactive there, they've heard about this. They want to obviously avoid any bad press and litigation and they want to do the right thing and successful so you have the proactive companies and then unfortunately have companies who have maybe received a demand letter Or a lawsuit. So they'll reach out to us to and say, you know, we got this, we don't know what to do, how do we get started. And that's really where we can offer the value to say, you know, we can look at their website, find all the barriers, and then literally, you know, we have tools and software to show them how to fix it. So you can do it on their own. And then monitor once they are accessible to remain accessible going forward to

and and I see on your website, you offer free audits or free report. So who would be a good candidate for that free report?

Sure. Yeah. This this free report. It's really any any company out there who is not certain if you have any doubt, you know, maybe there you've heard of accessibility. You think one of the developers on your team or the agency you hire, do you think there was some accessibility clause or something, there's any doubt I would say come in, do the free report. We basically scan the top we do 100 pages of your website, and then put together a report to us About five pages long or so. And it really just details you know, this is roughly how compliant you are, here are some of the major errors, and we're seeing so you can understand kind of what some of the barriers are. And it's a good starting point, you know, to see, it kind of raises that doubt you either are accessible, you're not. And if you're not, then we can work with you to get your plan. So you become accessible.

Right. And so once a client that Yeah, I'm sorry about that. So Michael, yeah, we're back. Okay. So does a website then. So your services then, like you could become their ADA compliance department, and then they just keep you keep a relationship with you. You keep evaluating their website and make sure that everything is up to snuff. Is that right?

Yeah. So every month, because websites are constantly changing, right? They're adding new ads, new pages. So we're able to to every month to produce a new report and it really builds this kind of a trend of compliance. So every month you can show How many errors you started with how many were resolved. And then going forward, it's also a checkmark to say, you know what, you are compliant, we can certify you as compliant, and then you're continuing to be compliant.

Now, I would imagine that could come in helpful if they do get any pushback, like let's say that they actually have to get legal about something, they could probably produce a report or something that says, look, you know, we did this, this and this. You're not, you're incorrect. They're

absolutely we've been in federal court, actually, three times last year, I was in federal court as an expert witness for this. And you're you're 100% correct. Having that that transaction log to show, here's what we've been doing for this amount of time. So, you know, in the event that there is a single issue one time, you're not worried about going to court and having a large lawsuit, right. I mean, that's something that we're able to work with, catch it quickly. And then you also have the proof to show you there's your trend of compliance. You've been working and focusing on this

So Michael, how did you get into this line of work?

So really, when I started in late 90s, as a software developer, this was just, it was it was brand new was something we were all learning. But really, in 2003, is when I started with a large bank, and there, they were very dedicated to accessibility. So back in 2003, is when I started learning, the coding requirements, and how to make accessible websites. So really going all the way back to the early 2000s.

Great, great. Well, Michael, thank you so much for joining us again. So you go to the web, A D A sure.com. And right up at the top there. If you'd like to know if you are how you're doing just in terms of usability and the ADA, you can click the blue button, it says start test. And Michael, thank you so much for the service that you provide. Thank you very much for the work that you do. On behalf of disabled Americans, and you know, thank you for the work you do on behalf of businesses who I think, you know, for most of us who probably just don't know that we're not compliant. So it's- I'm very grateful that you're kind of there in the middle of making- making sure everybody gets the experience that they desire.

Yep, absolutely. That's what we do. Thanks, Josh. appreciate being so much. Thank you

again, Michael. You're the founder and partner of ADASure on the web at ADA Sure dot com. Thanks, Michael. Thanks, Josh. Thanks for listening to the thoughtful entrepreneur. If you are a thoughtful entrepreneur or business professional who would like to be a media celebrity and be on our show, please visit up my influence comm slash guest. And while you're at it, take our free quiz and learn your authority score that's available for you right now at up my influence.com slash quits, and please do us a favor. If you liked the guests that was just interviewed. Would you share this episode on social media? Also, can your podcast player right now, please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review, we promise to read it all and take action. See, we believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill our mission to help create more media celebrities, make sure to hit subscribe, binge listen to our previous episodes, and we'll send you the next episode three times a week, automatically five to 15 minutes exactly what you need to inspire yourself just a little bit more, learn from others and grow. With that. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur revolution.

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