Case Study: ADA Compliance Case Study
A major international company with an American division, regarded as a global leader and trendsetter within its industry, had a website that was not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Their website did not meet the accessibility requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), leaving many users – including those with certain disabilities – unable to fully experience and utilize the website. As a business that exists to benefit the public, the company was required to accommodate individuals of all abilities, not just at its storefront locations, but also as part of its digital presence.
Paradigm did not design the original website, but was hired when our client faced a class action lawsuit, which alleged that it failed to design and maintain its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to these inaccessibility issues, the back end of the site (which was developed in both WordPress and Magento) had not been kept adequately updated, which was not a legal concern but had caused its platform to become outdated and open to security risks. Paradigm Marketing and Design was hired to correct both of these issues within a strict deadline set forth by the lawsuit. Paradigm could not meet ADA requirements until the site platforms were fully updated and functional.
We brought in an ADA certified strategic partner to do a full audit of the client’s website. This multi-week audit was conducted by live users who used the site to simulate the situations that users with disabilities might encounter. Although a WAVE web accessibility tool can also be used to measure some accessibility, it is not considered to be compliant by the courts as it is not entirely accurate in its analysis. To receive certification that a website is fully accessible, we partner with a certified and accredited partner.
We worked within a three-month deadline to upgrade the site platform from Magento 1.0 to Magento 2.0. This is typically a multi-month to a year project, but we had to compress it into three months to facilitate the meeting of the ADA requirements within the timeframe set forth by the lawsuit. To properly upgrade the site from Magento 2.0, we had to rebuild the entire site, containing well over 8,000 products, within the new platform, and then test the functionality and ensure that everything was working properly prior to implementing the ADA required changes.
Once the platform was upgraded, we worked to quickly meet the ADA requirements outlined by our strategic partner, who then validated that the ADA requirements were met and issued a letter of conformance.
Our process included:
- The development and approval of a project timeline
- Regularly scheduled client check-ins and status reports
- A full rebuild of the Magento platform
- Thorough site functionality testing
- A full audit of the site by our strategic partner to identify all accessibility issues
- Successful implementation by Paradigm of all suggested and required accessibility changes; Paradigm made all of the changes and updates on a testing server and then relaunched the website on a live server during off hours to minimize site downtime
- Ongoing quarterly monitoring by our strategic partner
- Correction and remediation of any new issues by Paradigm
By the end of the three-month period, we had earned our client a letter of ADA conformance, and the newly accessible website was up and running on a fully upgraded platform within the deadlines set by the courts. To ensure that the site continues to remain in conformance, we work with the client on a monthly basis to perform security and performance updates as well as make any technical updates they need. And, on a quarterly basis, our strategic partner will validate that there are no newly introduced accessibility issues and that the site remains accessible to all users.