Springtime is fast approaching, and as you dutifully cross chores off of your spring cleaning to-do list, we encourage you to conduct an accessibility check-up of your entity’s website and web-based applications.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), public entities that choose to provide services through web-based applications or provide information to the public through the Internet must ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to such services and information. Equal accessibility of websites and web-based applications requires both technical accessibility and effective communication.
The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) was expected to issue updated website accessibility regulations this year; however, we do not expect the federal website accessibility regulations to be updated in the foreseeable future. The most recent regulatory agenda classifies the development of these regulations as inactive, and thus we recommend continuing to use the DOJ’s previous guidelines, as the standard for evaluating your organization’s Internet presence. It is best to continuously audit your website and web-based applications and work with IT personnel and website design vendors to ensure that proper accessibility features, such as alt tags, video captions and appropriate color combinations, are in place.
Public entity websites must also effectively notify interested persons with disabilities of the existence and location of accessible programs, services, and activities. We recommend periodically reviewing your entity’s website to ensure that the website effectively informs the public of the aids, accommodations, and services that are available to individuals with disabilities and provides equal opportunity access to all of your programs, services, and activities.