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It’s spooky season.

So we thought we would scare you a little – with the best of intentions. The web continues to evolve and we think it’s important that we keep you informed to protect you from the hazards that are out there.

In this newsletter we cover:

  1. Image usage rights
  2. Accessibility requirements
  3. Cookie notices and GDPR compliance
  4. Protection from denial of service and other attacks

Make sure you only use photos to which you have the rights.

The above image is from Unsplash, which is a (mostly) free image repository. We always credit the artist. There are lots of proprietary photos out on the web, and doing a google search for an image you like and uploading it to your website can end up with heafty fines from organizations like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock or Getty Images. Fines can be $1000+ regardless of whether you remove the images from your website after the fact. These companies use AI to find the images on the web, regardless of file name, and know if you do not have permission to use them. If you worry that you have unlicensed photos uploaded to your website. Please contact us and we will make sure all versions are completely removed.

Accessibility isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law.

“Web accessibility is a set of rules, behaviors, code standards and design guidelines, that are meant to allow people with disabilities to effectively use websites”

A compliant WCAG 2.1 website allows access to your information and the complete browsing experiece for people with blindness, motor and mobility issues, color blindness, epilepsy, blurred vision, cognitive disorders, aging, cataracts, & more.

The Problem

Standards for web accessiblity have changed over recent years. Even though we aim to create clear, accessible websites in our initial design, the website may fail over the long run as content is added and updated. A simple error like forgetting to add a description in the ALT tag field of our editor can cause your website to be non-compliant. To date, less than 3% of all websites meet the accessiblity compliance standards set by law. Getting your website compliant has beneficial effects not only for your visitors and customers, but also for general SEO performance.

Web Accessibility (ADA) litigation has increased dramatically over the past several years including:

  • 180% increase in lawsuits and demand letters since 2018
  • DOJ affirms ADA applies to websites since November 2018
  • 2019 tripled 2018 in papers served
  • Over 150,000 demand letters served to businesses since 2017
  • 93% of demand letters settle outside of court for $20,000 – $150,000 on average

The Solution

Luckily, there is a simple way to make sure your website is fully accessible. Slabmedia is pleased to announce it has partnered with Acessibe, the leading company creating solutions for web accessiblity today. Their AI-driven accessibility widget is second to none and covers a wide range of issues, including contrast, spoken readers, image descriptions for graphics that may be missing alt text, structural elements and more. We can install a widget for a low annual fee that will make your website fully WCAG 2.1 compliant. Click on the blue circular button in the bottom right of this screen to see what it does.

Contact us for more information and pricing to get your website fully accessible and protected. An example of the Accessibe widget is visible on our website in the lower right corner. Look for the little blue person in a circle.

Not everyone loves Cookies.

As you might know, the EU has strict cookie laws to protect visitors to your website form being followed around the web via cookies (GDPR). Our cookies are limited only to your website and are there for general purposes such as admins being able to edit their website, and 3rd party cookies such as those used for Google Analytics and the like.

In most of the USA, there is no cookie or privacy law in effect. However, California did enact the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) some years ago, though it's not clear that it's being enforced. If you want to future-proof your website, or if it's important to you for it to be in compliance in Europe, a cookie widget like our partners at CookieYes makes it easy to install, and easy to opt-in or opt-out for your visitors.

Contact us for more information and pricing to be in compliance with GDPR and similar laws in the USA. An example of the Accessibe widget is visible on our website in the lower left corner. Look for the little blue cookie in a circle.

Protection from attack (plus a nifty a speed boost) from Cloudflare:

Recently, one of our clients was the victim of a massive Denial of Service attack (DDoS). This happens when a team of bots flood the website with requests, effectively taking down the website as well as all websites on that server. This happens. We have no idea what the cause was, but sometimes blackhat coders decide to take down a website simply because they can.

Luckily, our crack team of specialists at Pair Networks detected the attack and isolated the website from the rest of our client's sites. We have since moved the name servers (the record for managing domain requests from browsers and devices) for this website to Cloudflare and things are back to normal. Their website is still hosted on our servers, only the name servers have changed.

Cloudflare minimizes images and code and disperses copies of the larger items to multiple servers around the world to speed up page load, which is a big benefit for slow-loading websites. That is a good plus, but the protection against attack is the main benefit.

Slabmedia uses Cloudflare for DDoS protection and page load speed.

Contact us for more information and pricing for Cloudflare protection.

That’s enough for this newsletter.

This concludes our newsletters with public service announcements for our customers for the time being. Our intention was not to scare you, but to make you aware of the hazards so we can help you get ahead of them. As always, we look forward to working with you in the future. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions and comments.

We are hard at work on SlabOpen - which will be an open-source version of our web platform for developers.

Take a look at some of the work we've been doing by visiting our portfolio.