The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to issue regulations establishing standards for website accessibility for state and local governments before the end of 2013. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), state and local governmental services are required to be accessible to people with disabilities. The DOJ maintains that governmental services and programs provided over the Internet and via websites must be accessible in order to comply with the law. Unfortunately, until now, no uniform standard has existed for website accessibility compliance under Title II of the ADA.
The DOJ plans to release regulations establishing a uniform standard of accessibility for state and local government websites across the country. The new standard is likely to incorporate most, if not all, of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium.
Over the past 10 years, state and local governments have rushed to bring government services online. These online services must be accessible to disabled citizens in the same way that other services provided by state and local governments must be accessible. It is important that all state and local governments assess their current web-based services to make sure that they are in compliance with the new standards when they are issued by the DOJ.