WHITE PAPER: Julee Peterson & Brian Keenan

The wave of accessibility lawsuits that threatens EdTech and how to stay out of its path

EdTech companies need to be serious about ADA compliance, and fast. Over the last few years there has been exponential growth in the number of lawsuits filed against organizations. COVID-19 has added a new dimension as users are challenged with adapting to remote conditions. After a brief lull in 2020 cases that coincided with the onset of pandemic shutdowns, the pace has returned to 2018 and 2019 levels.

This summer, UsableNet released their 2020 Midyear ADA Website and App Accessibility Lawsuit Report. Their data shows a lull in federal claims occurred in the early months of the pandemic, but by May, the pace was back up to 2018-2019 levels. EdTech product leaders need to be alert to accessibility issues as attention on the role of educational software and apps is at an all time high among teachers, students, parents and administrators who have been forced to react quickly to new realities in learning environments that seem to be shifting weekly. 

As if 2020-ing wasn’t hard enough, it’s now more important than ever to ensure your product won’t put you in the crosshairs in an era of heightened scrutiny. Simply put, making products accessible for ALL users is more than a requirement, it’s the right thing to do. On the business side, the consequences of not doing so include ADA lawsuits, declining sales, and negative brand perception.

How This White Paper is Organized:

  1. Why so many products fail to meet compliance standards. A quick look at some of the common reasons why product teams don’t address compliance issues.
  2. Understanding ADA compliance. An overview of the organizations, rules, and affected populations.
  3. What’s at stake for EdTech. An alarming trend threatening EdTech and why buyers of your product might turn away.
  4. How to become and remain compliant. A simple plan that EdTech product leaders can take to get on the path to ADA compliance.
  5. The upsides of compliance. The benefits include reducing the risk of declining sales and lawsuits and gaining a new competitive edge.

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  • Photo of Julee Peterson
    Julee Peterson

    As Accessibility Lead / Senior UX Designer at Openfield, Julee brings a tireless dedication to creating stellar user experiences that work for ALL users by leading our efforts to stay at the forefront of ADA compliance and inclusive design practices. She holds a Master of Science in User Experience Design from Kent State University. Outside of the office, Julee enjoys cruising on her motorcycle when the weather’s nice, gardening and furthering her love of cooking and baking with challenging new recipes. She is currently satisfying her thirst to learn new things by teaching herself to play the cello and speak Korean. 반갑습니다!

  • Photo of Brian Keenan
    Brian Keenan

    As a Co-founder of Openfield, Brian’s focus is helping business leaders understand how UX research and design can help them increase speed to market, while reducing risk and waste. He is an avid student and practitioner of landscape photography, which pairs well with his love of road tripping and exploring vast and wild destinations.

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