25 March 2019

Buyer Beware: Accessibility Toolbars Won’t make your website Compliant

AmDee Weekly Digest March 25: News that Matters to You

Top Stories

Your Accessibility Toolbar Doesn’t Help
Joe Dolson
Web site accessibility will only be broadly implemented if everybody who builds websites or web tools understands what they are personally doing wrong. Tools that try to fix the results are just a band-aid; they don’t fix the problem at the source. Hiring website accessibility consultants or specialists to fix your site will only fix your site and have no impact on the larger web. …Adding narration makes absolutely no difference. If the site has been created in a manner that supports screen readers, then they already have the support they need. If it doesn’t, then the narration widget still won’t have access to missing information: images without alternative text, buttons without text labels, or layouts that take content out of sequence.

Practical Strategies for Defending ADA Website Accessibility Claims
New York Law Journal
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-based discrimination claims alleging inaccessibility of business websites have exploded onto the scene over the last several years as one of the latest entrants into the so-called “drive-by” (or, in this case, “surf by”) ADA litigation trend. Thousands of these claims, usually involving visually impaired persons, were filed nationwide in 2018, primarily in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, with more than 1,500 cases clogging the dockets of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Every business with a consumer-facing website is at risk.


Does it seem that everyone is talking about chatbots, but you’re not sure what chatbots are or the benefits they may provide to your organization? Never fear, AmDee is here with a great blog post that breaks down everything you need to know about chatbots. Check it out and let us know if you have any other questions. We’d be happy to answer them!

Website Security News

Two serious WordPress plugin vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild
Attackers have been actively exploiting serious vulnerabilities in two widely used WordPress plugins to compromise websites that run the extensions on top of the content management system. The two affected plugins are Easy WP SMTP with 300,000 active installations and Social Warfare, which has about 70,000 active installations. While developers have released patches for both exploited flaws, download figures indicate many vulnerable websites have yet to install the fixes. Figures for Easy WP SMTP, which was fixed five days ago, show the plugin has just short of 135,000 downloads in the past seven days. Figures for Social Warfare show it has been downloaded fewer than 20,000 times since a patch was published on WordPress on Friday. Sites that use either plugin should disable them immediately and then ensure they have been updated to version of Easy WP SMTP and 3.5.3 of Social Warfare.

Kathmandu Notifies Customers of Security Incident Involving Its Website
Security Boulevard
On 13 March, Kathmandu released a notification disclosing how the company became aware of the security incident between 8 January and 12 February. At some point during that time, an unauthorized third party gained access to the retail chain’s website. Those bad actors then might have abused their unauthorized access to steal customers’ personal information and/or payment details as they completed their online orders.

Website Accessibility News

Google Launch Puts Spotlight On Digital Accessibility Issues
The release of a new Google app development tool is among the latest steps to try to bring more mobile accessibility to people with disabilities — a push that’s been going on in the background of digital retail and associated areas almost since the beginning.

The Smithsonian Debuts New Accessibility Technology For Blind and Low-Vision Patrons
Washington City Paper
Visiting a museum is an enjoyable experience, but for visitors who are blind or have low vision, it can be a limiting one. But patrons who visit Smithsonian museums now have the opportunity to try innovative technology aimed at providing a new level of access and freedom. Earlier this week at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian debuted Aira technology, which is currently available at all Smithsonian museums in D.C., as well as the National Zoo. Through the deployment of specially trained, sighted agents, the technology is utilized with smartphone cameras, or special glasses, to provide on-demand verbal descriptions of the user’s surroundings—from individual objects in museums to whole displays and exhibitions. The sighted agent can then guide the user through the museum.

How the ‘A’ in ‘AI’ can stand for ‘Assistive,’ and what that means for providers and patients
Healthcare Finance News
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to change the healthcare industry a great deal, but as the technology develops and takes root, it’s important to retain the human element in healthcare, using these new tools to assist, rather than replace, the human beings who are the engine of the industry.

Seeing through a Robot’s Eyes Helps Those with Profound Motor Impairments
Georgia Tech News Center
An interface system that uses augmented reality technology could help individuals with profound motor impairments operate a humanoid robot to feed themselves and perform routine personal care tasks such as scratching an itch and applying skin lotion. The web-based interface displays a “robot’s eye view” of surroundings to help users interact with the world through the machine.

Nonprofit News

How to Write Website Content for a New Nonprofit Program
Wired Impact
Content strategists get a lot of practice starting from zero when we’re putting together website text and blog posts. So try to believe me when I say that, while it might not feel like it now, starting from scratch with a blank page has a lot of advantages. It can actually be more difficult (and time-consuming) to try to rework or update something written in the past—especially when it was intended to be used in another format, like a grant proposal.

Fundraising News

Donor Acknowledgment Is Important for Every Nonprofit
NonProfit Pro
A modest gift arrived from a donor who I had hoped would give more. My chief development officer saw my frown, closed the office door and sat down. “Laurence,” he said, “every gift, no matter the size, is important. He didn’t have to give us anything.” That was 28 years ago when I was the CEO of a large nonprofit. I recall the sting of that lesson often. I was schooled about gratitude. I don’t think we talk enough about gratitude and how to artfully acknowledge our donors. I’d like that to change—at least right now between you and me. We can do this.

Did you know that The AmDee blog covers topics related to WordPress, web design, web security, SEO, and content marketing topics for nonprofits and small businesses? Have a question or topic you’d like us to cover? Email us with the subject line “Dear AmDee”.

Christine Job

Christine is AmDee’s Sales and Marketing Manager. She is also the Social Media and Content strategist for AmDee. Her entrepreneurial experience, as well as her experience as a business development consultant, gives her the ability to craft sales and marketing strategies that are lean, comprehensive and effective, not only for AmDee but for also for AmDee clients as well.