Recently the United States Department of Justice released new guidance on digital accessibility compliance. This is intended to help state and local governments understand and comply with the DOJ’s new standard. It included this statement:
Inaccessible web content means that people with disabilities are denied equal access to information. An inaccessible website can exclude people just as much as steps at an entrance to a physical location. Ensuring web accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority for the Department of Justice. In recent years, a multitude of services have moved online and people rely on websites like never before for all aspects of daily living. For example, accessing voting information, finding up-to-date health and safety resources, and looking up mass transit schedules and fare information increasingly depend on having access to websites.
Of course it’s not only government bodies that must be concerned. Businesses also must ensure that people with a wide range of disabilities are able to freely absorb and interact with their website content. Enforcement of ADA guidelines has been spotty in the past. Since late 2021 the DOJ has been primarily concerned with making sure that COVID-19 vaccination portals offer digital accessibility to the entire public.
WCAG and Section 8 Standards
The DOJ’s recently released Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA recommends that businesses follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Section 8 Standards that the federal government uses. WCAG is commonly considered the industry standard for digital accessibility. It outlines various levels of compliance with Level A being the lowest and meeting only the barest minimum standard and Level AAA being the highest and hardest to achieve. Most companies that choose to comply aim to meet Level AA standards.
The WCAG apply to both websites and mobile apps. They offer guidance to website designers that, when followed, ensures that blind people can read online content with their screen readers, users with disabilities can navigate through web pages using keyboard keys alone, users have enough time to read the full content of any page, and flashing content is subject to guidance to protect users who have seizures.
Digital Accessibility Compliance
In our previous blog on digital accessibility, we said, “The goal of any developer with a concern for accessibility is that any user, regardless of their disability or disabilities, should be able to access the same content and functionality on a given website.” This is our mission when we design websites.
Is your website accessible to all types of people based on their individual needs? Website owners need to consider this now and going forward. If your website is not digitally accessible, you may be at risk of a lawsuit, and you are missing out on part of your potential internet audience. Call us at Corporate Conversions if you would like to rectify your digital accessibility compliance issues. We are here to help.