The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has just recently issued guidance describing how state, local governments and businesses can better make sure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The guidance provides reasons why website accessibility matters; examples of website accessibility; ADA requirements; how to implement accessible web content; and resources that provide links to guides and tools for implementation.
Importance of Website of Accessibility
Designing websites that are accessible allow equal access to information. People with disabilities navigate the web in many different ways (screen readers; voice recognition software; the use of closed captioning), which require organizations to account for each type of need depending on the type of disability. Websites that are inaccessible can exclude individuals just as much as steps at an entrance to a store or building for individuals with physical disabilities.
Barriers to Website Accessibility
The department notes various obstacles that can hinder an individuals’ ability to access web content, which include:
- Poor color contrast
- Use of color alone to give information
- Lack of text alternatives (“alt text”) on images
- No captions on videos
- Inaccessible online forms
- Mouse-only navigation (lack of keyboard navigation)
Under Title II (refers to state and local governments) and Title III (refers to businesses open to the public) of the ADA, organizations are prohibited from discrimination against people with disabilities. Various governments and businesses open to the public must take steps to ensure that their communications are just as effective with people with disabilities as they are with individuals without disabilities Also, that goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages are offered equally.
How to Make Web Content Accessible
The department allows organizations flexibility in how they ensure that the programs, services, and goods they provide online are accessible to people with disabilities. They include various links that help guide organizations in implementing web accessibility. Please see the links below that they provide: