User Experience

Cubs’ Alleged ADA Violations a Good Reminder for Designers to Prioritize Accessibility

The Chicago Cubs face a lawsuit from federal prosecutors

[read time]
Oct 17, 2022
Usability diagrams

The “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field may not be so friendly after all. The Chicago Cubs face a lawsuit from federal prosecutors “alleging the team failed to comply with the American Disabilities Act when it executed a series of renovations at Wrigley Field.” As reported by WGN, “Attorneys for the government on Thursday said that while the ballpark renovations “significantly enhanced the gameday experience for many fans, particularly those able to take advantage of premium clubs and other luxury accommodations, the same can not be said for fans with disabilities.”

This serves as a great reminder that compliance is compliance whether it's at a ballpark or on your website/marketing materials just like the updates to Wrigley Field appear to have failed to account for ADA compliance, an ugly problem lurks behind the rapidly beautifying web 2.0/3.0 experience and eye-catching designs of today. 

Often overlooked in the design process, website user experience (UX) – including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – plays a critical role in the effectiveness of any website, especially for those with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning and neurological disabilities. But as more tools become readily available for novice web designers to build and manage their own sites and as veteran designers get swept up in the creative process, this critical aspect too often gets forgotten or little attention.

States redesigning websites for ALL constituents

Fortunately, as covered in the article for Government Technology, many U.S. states have realized their online accessibility shortcomings and started redesigning websites with a heavy emphasis on user experience, with Michigan and Texas leading the charge.

Ammie Farraj Feijoo, the acting manager of, offered a succinct explanation of UX and its value: “User-centered design is a methodology that integrates feedback from the people for whom you are designing a product or service.”

Essentially, make the website as user-friendly as possible, collect user feedback, refine and update in a continuous cycle, but that user feedback must include users with disabilities. Otherwise, you’re leaving out a significant part of the population. As Feijoo explained to Government Technology:

“Ensure participants reflect the diversity of users to ensure that all people, including those with disabilities, can effectively use digital services. Access to digital services is not a luxury but rather a necessity for millions of people … The experience they have with such services — from filing taxes to getting food assistance — shapes their attitude toward government.”

Enter WCAG.

What you need to know about Web Content Accessibility

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed the first iteration of the WCAG in 1999 with the “aim to make websites, apps, electronic documents, and other digital assets accessible to people with a broad range of disabilities, including sensory, intellectual, learning and physical disabilities.” You can read more about its history and purpose here.

The current standard, WCAG 2.1, was developed in 2018 and builds upon WCAG 2.0, in an effort to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities and older individuals with changing abilities due to aging. The standard also improves usability for many users in general. Examples of current guidelines from include:

  • Images must contain descriptive alternative text (ALT text) so people who are blind have a description of an image that accurately conveys its meaning.
  • The on-page text must be realizable without disrupting the way the page displays so people with vision disabilities can magnify content and have an easier time reading.
  • All form-entry tasks need to exist without a time limit or include an extended, lengthy time limit to accommodate the needs of people who need more time to fill out forms.
  • Components that exist across multiple web pages, like navigation, headers, footers, and sidebars, must consistently appear in the same places throughout the site so people always know to find them regardless of what page they’re on.
  • Users must be able to navigate your website without the use of a mouse. Users should be able to use the “tab” button on a keyboard to progress through any given page.
  • All web pages must use proper heading level structure so users with screen readers can easily navigate the site.

While we won’t get into all the technical details, if you’re not designing web content to these standards you’re doing your users a disservice, by creating roadblocks to information, not to mention forfeiting access to a $1.2 trillion market. According to crownpeak, “71% of people with disabilities will leave a website that isn’t accessible.”

Test, test and test again. Then collect user feedback.

Be sure to double check that your websites comply with the current WCAG standards. To aid in the process of testing for WCAG, W3C offers an evaluation of available testing tools, including their features and limitations They also provided a helpful video overview:

Remember though, while tools are useful, they cannot replace actual user feedback. 

Need a hand with UX and WCAG web design?

Designing high quality UX and adhering to WCAG standards can be a daunting task for many. Ensure that your developers know how to effectively implement these design concepts. If not, Dept.11 can help; our team of experienced web designers are well-versed in these standards and can get you over the hump with a beautiful, modern website that’s also user-friendly no matter who is visiting. Contact us today.