The American Disability Act became law nearly 30 years ago as a set of guidelines with a primary purpose to provide equal access to products and services. Because of the way the law was written, there have been ongoing challenges with interpretation of specific intent, and more specifically, long-awaited clarification requested to challenge the millions of websites that people feel are not accessible, resulting in thousands of lawsuits filed every year*.
*2,895 cases filed with the DOJ in 2021 an increase of 14% over 2020 (source: Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
Add to that the dramatic increase in social awareness and internet usage in the last decade, especially during the COVID pandemic, and the result of heightened demand for more structure so that the momentum within our digital environment continues.
Finally, the Department of Justice and the U. S. Access Board issued a statement on March 21, 2022, with updated guidance on website accessibility.
Department of Justice Issues Web Accessibility Guidance Under the ADA
March 21, 2022
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has published guidance on web accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to inform state and local governments and businesses open to the public on how to ensure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. This guidance uses plain language and clear examples to review Title II and Title III of the ADA, the importance of web accessibility, barriers that inaccessible websites create for some people with disabilities, requirements of the ADA to web content, and tips on making web content accessible.
While the guidance is still somewhat generic, the DOJ and USB have finally restated – now in writing – that under Title III which covers open public accommodations, that websites and documents posted to them, must be fully accessible for all individuals, with or without disabilities.
The information presented on the ADA website includes sections and examples that are easy to understand and describes how to support accessibility and key strategies. Further, this new guidance sets the foundation for companies to build a sense of social responsibility, community, culture and trust with investors and customers.
At Toppan Merrill, we continually monitor potential regulatory changes to ensure our customers are best positioned to follow ADA standards and offer solutions that provide a quantifiable way for companies to measure the percentage of documents posted on corporate websites that are ADA compliant, as well as specific data points that demonstrate corporate commitments to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives.
Gary Iverson – Director, Global Composition & ADA/508 Compliance Advisor at Toppan Merrill
Gary’s career has spanned 30+ years primarily in insurance marketing and compliance operations. Gary’s focus on accessibility compliance for Toppan Merrill began in 2012, and he has been strategically involved since as new laws and software have become available. His work includes advising Toppan Merrill customers and working with software developers on accessibility requirements. Gary is a member of IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.