New Website Accessibility Guidance a Welcomed Tool for Businesses and Agencies
DOJ Has Declared Enforcement of Website Accessibility is Priority
The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has issued web accessibility guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While many courts have historically held that business and public agency websites are required to be accessible under respective provisions of the ADA, there are no enforceable standards on website accessibility, as there are under Section 508 for federal government websites. Because the DOJ has noted that enforcement of website accessibility is a priority, businesses and public agencies should immediately become familiar with this new guidance and ensure that all components of their websites are in compliance.
The new guidance explains how state and local governments (entities covered by ADA Title II) and businesses open to the public (entities covered by ADA Title III) can make sure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities in compliance with ADA. Specifically, it provides information about:
- Barriers that inaccessible websites create for people with disabilities
- When the ADA requires web content to be accessible
- Helpful practices to make web content accessible
- Additional details and resources
As the DOJ has stated, the guidance is intended to provide plain language and user-friendly explanations to ensure it is comprehensible for general readership – not just those with a legal or technical background. The guidance explains that businesses and governments can choose how to make their programs and services offered on their websites accessible, since there is no specific standard. However, it also confirms that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 standards should still be considered helpful guidance, and entities should continue to reference these standards for the more technical and detailed guidance on website accessibility.
The full guidance is available here.
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