Today, the Department of Justice released guidance on the obligations of public entities (such as state and local governments) and businesses open to the public with regard to website accessibility. This guidance comes less than a month after 181 organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice calling for regulations on the accessibility of websites and applications.
This guidance covers why website accessibility matters, examples of barriers, and when the ADA requires websites to be accessible. It also provides high-level resources for how to make websites accessible and states that Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities Is a Priority for the Department of Justice.
Although this guidance links to commonly used accessibility standards, until the Department of Justice issues regulations clarifying what covered entities are required to do to meet their ADA obligations, many accessibility barriers will persist. In addition, it will be imperative for the Department of Justice to address how applications, like those that are downloaded to a smartphone, are covered under the ADA.
Because these and other issues still need to be defined, we continue to call on the Department of Justice to issue enforceable regulations by the end of the current administration. Still, we are extremely pleased that the Department of Justice has taken this issue seriously and put out guidance that will help public agencies and businesses understand how important website accessibility is for people with disabilities. We look forward to watching how the Department of Justice carries this important priority forward to create a digitally inclusive society for everyone.