Through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA, working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities.
It is very important to keep in mind that to date, no website evaluation tool has been developed that can completely replace a human being. This is because with present technology it is difficult to emulate human attributes such as common sense. In this regard, these tools should be used with caution, and the results that they produce should be interpreted in context with the website you are evaluating. Moreover, since accessibility is a subset of usability, these tools should only be used to evaluate accessibility and not usability since, at best, they can only show you where your site is not accessible.
The web accessibility guidelines covered include WCAG 2.0—Section 508, W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and U.S. federal procurement standards. HTML CodeSniffer generates reports of evaluation results, giving the user step-by-step evaluation guidance and displaying information within the scanned web pages. It automatically reviews single pages specifically, including both restricted and password protected. The browser plugins supported include Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, and Safari. The supported format is HTML, with the most recent version 2.0.3 being released on December 15, 2014. The license is open source, and the online service includes an online checker, hosted service and server installation.
Technology is changing, and many website designers are using creative and innovative ways to present web-based materials. These changes may involve new and different access problems and solutions for people with disabilities. This Chapter discusses just a few of the most common ways in which websites can pose barriers to access for people with disabilities. By using the resources listed at the end of this Chapter, you can learn to identify and address other barriers.
As we reported in June, 103 members of the House of Representatives from both parties asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “state publicly that private legal action under the ADA with respect to websites is unfair and violates basic due process principles in the absence of clear statutory authority and issuance by the department of a final rule establishing website accessibility standards.” The letter urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “provide guidance and clarity with regard to website accessibility under the … ADA.”
Another web accessibility tool is offered through the SSB BART Group, and this tool is the Accessibility Management Platform (AMP). This platform is a web-based platform that provides turkey, scalable solutions for meeting all web accessibility compliance standards, including Section 508, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This compliance is garnered through comprehensive testing, reporting and training. Guidelines covered include WCAG 2.0—W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, WCAG 1.0 – W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, Section 508, U.S. federal procurement standards, JIS or Japanese Industry Standards, and Irish National IT Accessibility Guidelines.
The need to make websites, mobile apps, and other online properties accessible to all is only going to increase as time moves on. Smart business owners will do well to get in front of this issue and make sure that their websites are ADA compliant now so that all their customers have the equal access to the resources they offer. Not just because they want to avoid a lawsuit or government action, but because it’s the right thing to do.