Clarification of Website Accessibility Guidelines on the Horizon

April 8, 2013

State and local governments may soon get more clarification as to how to make their online presence more accessible to people with disabilities. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to take place in July of 2013. This notice will broaden and clarify the guidelines on Website Accessibility as first set forth in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This will be an important step in the overall goal of ensuring website information and function will be accessible to everyone. Another update is most likely expected in December of 2013, and will help clarify guidelines that public sites may follow.

The timing of these much anticipated updates is relevant, as there has been a lot of confusion as to what is expected, and how Web developers can conform. Andrew Kirkpatrick, Adobe's group product manager for accessibility and co-chair of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAG), perhaps sums it up the best. He is quoted as saying, "There's a lot of work to do to make sure we're providing clear guidance to developers out there so they can address accessibility in the most straightforward, simple way while being effective because it's critical for people to be able to get access to this information”.


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