Potential Change in Web Accessibility Requirements

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE - Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

"Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations"

The department of Justice has given advance notice of a proposal to change the regulations for web accessibility requirements for State and local governments. One of the suggestions in the document is to change to the WCAG 2.0 standard. State and local governments currently are required to meet the Section 508 standard, though a number of them have chosen the more stringent WCAG 1.0 as the state standard. A change to the WCAG 2.0 standard is significant. Raising a site from WCAG 1.0 to WCAG 2.0 can in some cases be simple, but in some cases it can also require a complete redesign.
Accessibility needs to be built into a site from the ground up, not as an afterthought. With sites designed around accessibility, a change may not be too difficult. When accessibility was forced onto an inaccessible design the WCAG 2.0 standard may not be within reach without a complete restructuring of the site.
This may be a good time to evaluate where your site stands in terms of accessibility. Try out a tool like Cynthia Says and see how your site does. Regardless of the outcome of this proposal, I think that the focus this will bring on accessibility will be a good thing.

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