Technical Accessibility Standards
All the DOJ settlement agreements require conformance with specified technical accessibility standards and many require conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA at a minimum. The settlements also mention other acceptable guidelines to achieve website accessibility.
More recent settlement agreements clarify that for purposes of the settlement agreement, websites and documents will be considered “accessible” if they comply with Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
As part of Project Civic Access, DOJ has undertaken compliance reviews of local government entities and has entered into settlement agreements that include website accessibility standards. These standards require entities to:
- Establish, implement, and post online a policy that its webpages will be accessible and create a process for implementation;
- Ensure that all new and modified webpages and content are accessible; and
- Develop and implement a plan for making existing web content more accessible.
The settlement agreements typically require covered entities to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for new webpages. However, some settlement agreements also require pre-existing and archived webpages to be updated and made more accessible. For example, some of the settlement agreements specified that:
- Covered entities that control or operate a webpage(s) available to applicants and individuals will develop and implement a plan to make pre-existing webpages comply with WCAG 2.0 AA by a certain date.
- Each website, including pre-existing pages, must include plain-language contact information for users having trouble accessing content within the site.
- When an individual with a disability requests access, pre-existing pages, legacy pages, and archived pages must be updated for WCAG 2.0 AA compliance. Otherwise, the content must be made available to the requesting individual in a timely and accessible manner.