Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seems to get harder by the day. The newest development? Firms will soon be on the hook for ensuring their company websites are in line with the disability bias law.
That’s right. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is taking steps to require companies to make their websites up to speed with the ADA.
When the ADA was passed many moons ago (all the way back in 1990), there was no Internet. In fact, the ADA doesn’t make mention of the World Wide Web at all.
But several lawsuits from the late 90’s led the DOJ, the federal agency in charge of enforcing the ADA, to say the law gives disabled people access to both physical and electronic spaces.
Now the feds are making a formal push to get firms in compliance. Kimberly Colonna of law firm McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC has identified four of the barriers to accessibility that the feds are targeting:
- websites that don’t allow users with visual disabilities to change size or font color
- websites that require users to respond in a certain amount of time, but don’t have an option for a user to ask for more time
- websites that don’t use captions with their images, such that “screen readers” can’t read the info aloud to people who can’t see the images, and
- CAPTCHA’s (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart), that distorted text that some sites require users to fill out, which may be difficult for people with visual impairments to see.
The good news? The government says most of those barriers can be removed without much difficulty or cost, or without making big changes to your website.
No rules are in place yet, but the DOJ is accepting comments from companies on the proposed changes here.
We’ll keep you posted.