[LAST UPDATED: October 2018] An important component of most Structured Negotiation settlement agreements addressing web accessibility is an organization’s commitment to maintain what has been known as an Accessibility Information Page, or AIP. More recently, these statements are called called Accessibility Statements.
These pages are also found on sites where there has been a litigation or federal agency-based settlement, or where a company recognizes on its own that accessibility information is important to its customers. The U.S. Department of Justice has long required Accessibility Information Pages as part of its digital accessibility settlements with public and private organizations.
And Accessibility Statements are not just for the United States. The European Union appears to be furtherst along in detailing requirements of Accessibility Statements. Resources include the following:
- The European Union Web and Mobile Accessibility Directive (20160 requires public sector bodies to publish Accessibility Statements.
- The Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1523 of 11 October 2018 establishing a model accessibility statement in accordance with Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies
- the UK‘s requirements for what is needed on an Accessibility Statement.
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Components of the ideal Accessibility Information Page
A good Accessibility Information Page has the following components:
- has details about the organization’s web accessibility policy
- includes information about other accessibility services
- prominently lists a phone and (accessible) web-based method for the public to forward accessibility concerns, both positive and negative
- can be easily found, preferably linked from the home page and all page footers, available through any Help section, and available through the site search engine
Some lawyers advise organizations not to put up an AIP for fear that will attract legal complaints. I disagree. One page on a website cannot guarantee a full site will meet established access standards, or that the site will be usable by every site visitor. But Accessibility Information Pages usually demonstrate at least some level of commitment to accessibility and to the needs of all site users, even if the process is ongoing.
I believe that posted accessibility pages help organizations avoid legal action — so long as there is an active phone number and email address and site visitors get prompt and positive responses to feedback. Today’s consumers expect transparency; an easily findable and up-to-date accessibility page is increasingly expected. It’s absence a sign that accessibility is not a priority — or worse.
If you discover something good on a site with an Accessibility Information Page, use the contact information to let the site owners know. And if you uncover an area that needs improvement, or worse, let them know that too. Feedback helps keep the page current, and shows the site owner that accessibility matters to its customers, clients and site visitors.
Below is a list of links to the Accessibility Information Pages of some of the largest entities operating on the web. (Visiting these links will take you away from LFLegal.) You may also be interested in WebAxe’s July, 2013 post about Accessibility Twitter accounts maintained by large companies.
Do you know of a page that should be added to the list below? Please use the contact page and let us know.
Links to Accessibility Information Pages
- American Cancer Society
- Bank of America Bank of America also offers screen reader tips to its customers. You may have to first chose your state before being directed to the Accessible Banking pages.
- BBC Accessibility Portal (Web My Way) includes links to best practices, how to guides, and the BBC accessibility policy.
- Capital One
- Charles Schwab
- CVS Pharmacy
- ebay (Includes information such as Using a Screen Reader to Buy an Item.)
- Financial Times
- Houston METRO (regional transit agency) Accessibility Page. METRO also offers readers Accessibility Screen Reader Usage Tips.
- Kaiser Permanente
- Major League Baseball (MLB). MLB also offers its fans Accessibility FAQs for more in depth accessibility information. MLB Accessibility FAQs
- Mass Eye and Ear Hospital
- The Motley Fool
- NBC Learn
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Sikorski Credit Union
- TD Bank
- Tennessee Board of Regents Accessibility Initiative (includes links to the recommendations of the Higher Education Accessibility Task Force and other implementation documents)
- University of California Berkeley
- University of California (The University of California’s (UC) Electronic Accessibility Information portal leads to information for web and content developers, “guiding principles” of website development, and much more.)
- University of Michigan Includes information on standards, best practices and more.
- Walgreens (Adoption of WCAG 2.0 Level AA as web standard and contact form to report accessibility issues.)
- Washington State (from the Chief Information Officer) (includes standards, resources, training, and policies)
- Weight Watchers
- WellPoint (Anthem) WellPoint is one of the largest health benefits companies in the United States, operating many Blue Cross/Blue Shield franchises including Anthem Blue Cross in California and Empire Blue Cross in New York.
- Wells Fargo
Facebook does not have an easily findable Accessibility Information Page, but does have a dedicated Facebook feedback form for Accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Facebook also has an accessibility page on (where else?) Facebook! Facebook’s Accessibility Page
Accessible product and services pages
In addition to these sites, other companies have Accessibility Pages that focus on their manufactured products, technology, systems and services. Again, the presence of these pages does not mean every product made by the company will be accessible, but it does mean there is an understanding that a diverse customer base includes people with disabilities. Companies with robust accessibility information on their websites include the following: