Accessibility everywhere & for everyone
Frequently in the course of consultations, conferences, or casual conversations, the focus will turn to the same question; “What’s the legal standard for accessibility?”
There are some clearly established guidelines that help developers, designers, and other provide for accessibility in their work. WCAG 2.0 AA—a mid-level standard of conformance to accessibility requirements—was the set of requirements adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice. By incorporating these standards into their settlement agreements and elsewhere, the DOJ essentially provided guidance for web development; by default, WCAG 2.0 Level A is the minimum level of compliance that should be sought during site construction, implementation, and updates. The Winn-Dixie lawsuit also helped to establish WCAG 2.0 as the standard.
Don’t mistake this guidance for a hard-and-fast rule, though. Particular businesses, organizations, clients, and individuals may encounter all sorts of different circumstances, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to compliance.
Moving beyond standard laptop and desktop web environments, we also have to consider where technology is currently going and where users have migrated to. So much of web content is viewed via mobile devices that it is impossible to leave them out of the equation. Additionally, there have been recent cases and judgements regarding accessibility on mobile devices and/or through mobile-specific applications, meaning that these items should absolutely be scrutinized just as closely for compliance as websites.
In addition, Title III of the ADA establishes requirements that all public accommodations—including banks, for example—be accessible to people with disabilities. This ensures that common services are available to everyone regardless of their hearing, vision, motor, or cognitive function levels, and makes it easier for people to find and utilize the products and services they need. While generalized, these requirements also have an impact on development for the mobile environment, and it is critical to keep accessibility in mind when developing mobile sites and apps.
In conclusion, the lack of a rigid legal standard does not mean that we can overlook the mobile platform when it comes to accessibility and ADA compliance. On the contrary, it points to the need for developers and designers to pay close attention to accessibility and make it a focal point of the process. All of which is part of the reason why ADASure strives to provide the most complete compliance audit process and results available.