by Glen Walker,
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on December 26, 2017, that it has officially withdrawn its two Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) related to website accessibility: one under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to state and local governments and one under Title III applicable to private businesses open to the public. The DOJ’s purported basis for the withdrawal of these two ANPRMs is to evaluate whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of web information and services is “necessary and appropriate.” Such evaluation “will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis.” The DOJ “will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.”
The announcement withdrawing the regulations follows the July 2017 decision to place the Title III regulations on the “inactive list” and ends efforts that started with the release of the ANPRM in 2010.
The withdrawal of these ANPRMs means continued uncertainty for website owners and operators as to the benchmarks that must be met to comply with the ADA, if any.
Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3C and inventor of the World Wide Web, thanked and encouraged fellow Web technologists to sustain his original vision of an open, interoperable and decentralized Web for everyone in the world in his keynote speech at the Technical Plenary and Advisory Committee (TPAC) in Lisbon, Portugal last week. Moreover, topping the technical discussions of the groups chartered by W3C regarding advancements to the Open Web Platform and industry requirements for the next generation of the Web was Accessibility.
Currently WCAG 2.0 is the standard for Web sites and has been adopted globally by many governments and organizations. Next steps around expanding features and chartering new work for WCAG 2.1 by 2017 were discussed. This includes providing and even more robust horizontal review of all W3C standard with the goal of ensuring accesses for everyone. Also, ARIA 1.1 is ready to advance to Candidate Recommendations and is evaluating implementations.
For more on TPAC read GAATES article, “W3C Global Web Experts Plan Technical Roadmap for Future of Web.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is collecting comments on the importance of web accessibility for people across the country who have disabilities. They are focusing on state and local government websites that cover things like voting, emergency preparedness, public schools and other government services. Comments are due on October 7, 2016. For information on when and how to file comments see the blog post on the Law Office of Lainey Feingold website.
Websites can be made more accessible by conforming to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines put forth by the W3C. For more information on how to conform to these guidelines visit the Service section of the Interactive Accessibility website.
The W3C has selected the Web Science Institute and the University of Southampton to host its UK and Ireland Office. The office will be staffed by and Office manager, Susan Davies, Coordination Manager for the WSI and a Senior Advisor, Professor Leslie Carr, Director of the WSI Centre for Doctoral Training. The W3C offices are local points of contact for the W3C and work to bring the W3C and its specifications to an international audience.
Read the W3C press Release
The W3C’s WAI Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) has made public the first version of Web Accessibility Perspectives, which introduces ten videos that explore the impact of accessibility on people with disabilities and how accessibility benefits everyone. The videos show how accessibility benefits everyone in different situations and inspires viewers to explore web accessibility. The WCAG 2.0 guidelines inform accessible web development.You can read more about the initiative at Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has said that it doesn’t expect regulations for accessibility for non-government websites until 2018. More than five years ago in 2010 the agency released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations. In summary, the DOJ is considering revising the regulation implementing title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to establish requirement for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodation or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities.
In a recent Statement of Regulatory Priorities the DOJ stated that, “The Department is including for disability nondiscrimination rulemaking initiative in its Regulatory plan,” among other things, “Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Governments.” However, it goes on to state that this and other priorities in the rule making agenda, “will be included in the Departments long-term actions for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.”
The First Public Working Draft of the Requirements for WCAG 2.0 Extension has been published by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. Extensions are optional standards modules that build on the existing requirements for WCAG 2.0, and that are designed to work harmoniously with that standard. The requirement that the WCAG WG is setting for development of WCAG 2.0 extensions is described in the requirements documentation.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a delay in the anticipated regulations regarding web accessibility. The new target date for Title II (state and local governments) is April, 2016. The date for private sector web regulations is now to be determined and not likely until 2018.
Even without regulations, however, the Americans with Disabilities Act already requires that web and mobile content, features and functions be accessible. The Department of Justice continues to file complaints and get involved in court actions confirming that digital access is required, and that WCAG 2.0 AA is the standard. Private sector settlements and lawsuits continue to protect the rights of people with disabilities to fully participate in the digital age. The regulations are delayed. Site and app owners should not delay in making their digital properties accessible.
Read more on the Law Office of Lainey Feingold’s website
A Proposed Recommendation of the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 and a Working Draft of Implementing ATAG 2.0 has been published by the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (ATAG WG.)
ATAG 2.0 gives guidelines to developers of web content authoring tools to help make them more accessible to authors with disabilities and are designed to enable, support and promote the production of more accessible web content by all authors.