Department of Justice Aims To Make the Internet Accessible
The Department of Justice intends to issue long-awaited regulations about website accessibility very soon. These new regulations will force more websites to make their content to available to people with disabilities.
Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, warns that they are taking on the internet:
It is and has been the position of the Department of Justice since the late 1990s that Title III of the ADA applies to Web sites. We intend to issue regulations under our Title III authority in this regard to help companies comply with their obligations to provide equal access.
Companies that do not consider accessibility in their Web site or product development will come to regret that decision, because we intend to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to technology and the worlds that technology open up. [source]
Assistant Attorney General Perez stated that the “Civil Rights Division is once again open for business . . . . [and] [is] busy working on the new ADA regulations, and expect to have them ready to be published very soon.” [source]
These regulations are a good thing. Web accessibility makes websites easily accessed by all types of people including those with certain disabilities. If a website is easily accessible to readers, it will only increase the overall number of people visiting and returning to the sites.
And even though the regulations are meant to provide greater accessibility to people with disabilities, the regulations will likely have benefits that flow to other users. We learned this with curb ramps, which were installed to allow people in wheelchairs to have greater access to sidewalks and streets, but are used by people riding bikes; people using walkers or canes, or pushing strollers.
The word on the street is that the new regulations will be published in September.