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Because you've downloaded this report, we also want to invite you to a special webinar on July 14 at 12 pm ET.
In this Webinar, Jason Taylor (Chief Innovation Strategist) and Tanner Gers (Head of Partnerships), will discuss data from the midyear 2021 ADA digital accessibility lawsuit report with a focus on trends and practical learnings that can be applied to help your content be more usable, accessible, and inclusive on mobile and the web. Save your seat now.
Below is a full-text description of our midyear report to help all users:
Tile 1: 2021 MID YEAR REPORT ADA DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY LAWSUITS Websites, Mobile, and Video
The text reads: The UsableNet research team monitors and documents all digital accessibility-related lawsuits where a website, mobile app, or video content is the subject of a claim in federal court under the ADA or in California state court under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The following report outlines trends found as of midyear 2021. Data and images can be shared when referencing UsableNet as a source and linking to www.usablenet.com.
Tile 2: DIGITAL LAWSUITS ON TRACK FOR RECORD
Image description: Over one lawsuit is filed every hour. 2018 had 2314 cases; 2019 had 2890 cases; 2020 had 3503 cases, and 2021 will have 4195 cases by the end, according to estimates based on the midyear filing rate.
The text reads: ADA-based cases so far in 2021 plot a path to 4,000 lawsuits in 2021. This includes cases filed in federal court and those filed in California under the Unruh Act with a direct reference to violation of the ADA. California New York Florida.
Tile 3: THE WINN-DIXIE EFFECT
The text reads: The April 7th, 2021 Winn-Dixie ADA Appeal Decision significantly reduced lawsuits within the Eleventh Circuit’s jurisdiction of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Image Description: Jan had 91 cases filed in California, 145 in New York and 29 in Florida. Feb had 202 in California; 93 in New York and 35 cases filed in Florida. March had 252 cases in California, 59 in New York, and 96 in Florida. April had 96 cases in California, 180 in New York, and 10 in Florida. May had 14 cases in New York, 16 in California and 76 in Florida. June had 142 cases in California, 216 in New York, and 16 cases in Florida.
The text reads: However, until the Supreme Court resolves the federal court split — or until Congress amends the ADA or DOJ issues regulations— website accessibility lawsuits will continue to be filed. They are still being filed in large numbers in NY, CA, and other states.
Tile 4: INDUSTRY LEADER BOARD
The text reads: e-Commerce cited the most in digital accessibility lawsuits. Banking/Financial moves back to the top 5. E-commerce had 73.66% while all other industries totaled 26.34%.
Image description: e-Commerce 73.66%; Digital Media & Agencies 4.14%; Banking/Financial 3.56%; Food Service Industry 3.31%; Healthcare 2.54%; Travel/Hospitality 1.84%; Automotive 1.46%; Education 1.34%; Entertainment & Leisure 1.08%; Fitness & Wellness 0.83%; Real Estate Agencies & Properties 0.45%; Insurance 0.32%; Telecommunications 0.06%; and Other 5.41% for a Grand Total of 100.00%.
The text reads: e-Commerce provides a reliable source for plaintiffs as the websites are complicated, change often, and are hard to be maintained for accessibility unless a company has a clear ongoing plan for testing and remediation.
Tile 5: NO COMPANY IS TOO SMALL
The text reads: The percentage of companies sued with revenue below 50 Million per year is growing.
Image Description: 476 cases were filed against companies with less than 50 Million in revenue and 536 cases were filed against companies with more than 50 Million in revenue in Jan – June 2020. 549 cases were filed against companies that had more than 50 Million in revenue and 1,115 cases were filed against companies that had less than 50 Million in Revenue in 2021.
The text reads: This could be a natural progression or due to changing consumer trends. Many of the largest companies have already been sued and have accessibility programs, which would make for a natural progression to smaller companies. The increase in eCommerce sales due to the pandemic has also brought more attention to smaller, up–and–coming eCommerce brands.
Tile 6: BIG E-COMMERCE BRANDS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The text reads: 74% of the e-tail 500 sued in the last 3 years. 369 of the top 500 received ADA-based digital lawsuits since 2018. 14% of the top 500 e-commerce retailers received a lawsuit so far in 2021. There are already 68 cases against the Top 500 e-commerce retailers in 2021
Tile 7: DIGITAL TARGETS EXPANDING
The text reads: Lawsuits in 2021 reflect the importance of considering accessibility for all digital channels and content.
Image Description: Desktop websites had 1422 claims; Mobile Apps had 109 claims; Video Accessibility had 109 claims; Combined Web & App had 40 claims; and Mobile Website had 1 claim.
The text reads: Accessibility on desktop websites dominates the number of lawsuits. Mobile Apps continue to rise along with a new trend in video-related claims. Video claims demand that all videos have closed caption and audio descriptions.
Tile 8: IMPORTANCE OF APPS
The text reads: App usage has risen, and lawsuits have followed. Over 100 companies received a claim across different industries.
Image description: Industry Total Percent eCommerce 19.46% Digital Media & Agencies; 18.12% Food Service Industry; 11.41% Fitness & Wellness; 6.04% Banking/Financial; 5.37% Healthcare; 5.37% Entertainment & Leisure; 3.36% Travel/Hospitality; 3.36% Real Estate; Agencies & Properties; 2.68% Education; 1.34% Automotive; 1.34% Insurance; 0.67% Telecommunications; 0.67% and Other 20.81%. For a Grand Total of 100.00%
The text reads More than 26% of companies that received an app accessibility lawsuit this year were previously sued for their website being inaccessible.
Tile 9: WIDGETS AND OVERLAYS OFFER NO GUARANTEES
The text reads: Lawsuits filed against companies using overlays or widgets for accessibility are growing.
Image Description: Number of lawsuits against companies using widgets by month, Jan had 28; Feb had 21; March had 35; April had 33; May had 32, and June had 39.
The text reads: 2021 is on track to have over 350 lawsuits filed against companies using accessibility widgets or overlays. Many 2021 lawsuits list the widget features as a barrier to equal access. Widgets are adding litigation risk, not removing it.
Tile 10: Final
Methodology: The UsableNet research team reviews all lawsuits filed in federal courts under the ADA and in California state court under Unruh. The cases are reviewed to identify ones where a digital property, including websites, mobile apps, and video is the subject of the claim. This allows UsableNet to keep our clients informed and provides them with the most up-to-date advice for planning their digital accessibility initiatives.
Source: Data is based on UsableNet’s research team’s collection across multiple legal sources from January 1, 2021, to June 21, 2021. A trusted partner can help you improve accessibility and reduce legal risk. Contact us for a free consultation with an accessibility expert.
Next steps: A trusted partner can help you improve accessibility and reduce legal risk. Contact us for a free consultation with
an accessibility expert.
Get a free evaluation of your website against the latest accessibility standard (WCAG 2.1) Test with UsableNet AQA.