|Web Accessibility standards are not new, but as the internet becomes more central to American life, the issue of website usability by people with disabilities is getting its day in court. My colleague Jack Dill, marketing director at the YMCA of Greater Omaha, sent me a link yesterday to an article in the Non-Profit Times discussing the lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) against Target Corp. It's been a matter of debate whether the law requires such accessibility. The judge's decision let the case go forward, however, gives weight to the inclusion of websites as "places of public accomodation" under the ADA.|
Meeting Internet accessibility standards in terms of the disabled takes on increased importance for all organizations with the possibility of a lawsuit now a real threat. Judge Patel’s basis for her decision to allow the suit to proceed -- that although Title III of the ADA doesn’t specifically talk about the Internet, the statute applies to the services of a place of public accommodation -- makes this so.What is the standard? Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act sets forward requirements that must to be met by federal agencies acquiring data systems. This has become the de facto standard that all accessibility of Information Systems has been measured against. Section 508 has no authority over privately owned Web sites unless they are receiving federal monies. That's why this lawsuit, claiming that the ADA covers websites, is truly breaking new ground.
How would your site fare in an accessibility audit? WebAim.org has developed a comprehensive and comprehensible compliance checklist you might want to take a look at.
Tagged: nptech, 508, ADA, accessibility