New ADA Rule Effective June 24: Ensuring Accessible Content for All

Jul 01 2024

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has updated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This mandates that all public entities ensure their digital content is accessible.

Effective June 24, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has updated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This update mandates that all public entities ensure their digital content – including websites, apps, and social media - is accessible to everyone, regardless of ability.

Public entities, including state and local governments, school districts, and various other agencies providing public services, are now legally obliged to prioritize accessibility across their digital communications. All digital content published by public entities must comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA success criteria, ensuring it is designed with accessibility in mind.

This is long-awaited news for individuals with disabilities who have in the past, faced barriers due to inaccessible content. The DOJ’s update to Title II acknowledges the critical need for inclusivity in today’s digital communication, emphasizing that information considered crucial to the general public must be equally accessible to those with disabilities.

Social Media Integration in Accessibility Standards

This legal obligation extends to social media platforms, which have become essential for real-time updates and public engagement, especially during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. In their article researching social media implications, rockymountainada.org explains that while social media hasn’t been specifically mentioned in the update, it falls under Title II which categorically prohibits “discriminating on the basis of disability for all public services and programs.” They go on to explain “Since websites and social media are available to the public, they must be made accessible in order to be in compliance with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.”

Public entities rely on social media to disseminate vital information swiftly, and communities, including people with disabilities, depend on these platforms for urgent communications. By fulfilling this responsibility, governments can significantly enhance their ability to effectively reach and serve diverse communities.

Moving Forward

Userway highlights the DOJ’s commitment in their article exploring the final ruling: “The DOJ states that there is no acceptable reason to exclude individuals with disabilities from social media communications.” By adhering to these updated ADA requirements, public entities will not only comply with legal standards but also foster a more inclusive and digital landscape where everyone can access important information and services.

Further Reading
https://statescoop.com/doj-web-app-accessibility-rules-state-local-governments/ (opens in a new window)

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-publish-final-rule-strengthen-web-and-mobile-app-access-people (opens in a new window)

https://userway.org/press/on-the-record/doj-digital-accessibility-update/ (opens in a new window)

https://rockymountainada.org/resources/research/social-media-implications-title-ii-and-title-iii-entities (opens in a new window)

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