DOJ issues guidelines on website accessibility

Recently, on March 18, 2022, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a “Web Accessibility Guidance” statement for state and local governments and public institutions (including businesses) under Titles II and III of the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A copy of the guidance document is available here.

In the Guide, the DOJ again clarifies that the ADA applies to websites: “The Department’s longstanding interpretation of the general provisions of non-discrimination and effective communication apply to accessibility of the web”.

The Guide also provides some examples of barriers to website accessibility, including poor color contrast, lack of text alternatives for images, lack of labels for forms, and user-friendly navigation design. mouse only.

Many business players have asked the DOJ to issue official regulations outlining exactly what must be done to make a website accessible. To date, this has not been done. The DOJ clarified its position by stating that “the Department of Justice does not have regulations establishing detailed standards, but the Department’s longstanding interpretation of the general non-discrimination and effective communication provisions apply to web accessibility”.

The DOJ has also referenced the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508 standards as resources for making websites accessible.

Finally, the DOJ provided examples of ADA lawsuits it has filed against public and private entities regarding website accessibility as an enforcement mechanism.

The recent guidelines appear to be a signal that the DOJ is renewing its focus on website accessibility, although official regulations are likely still many years away.

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