Just announced: Level Access and eSSENTIAL Accessibility agree to merge! Read more.

We get lots of questions here about how the ADA applies to websites or how the ADA applies to the Internet in general.  As I will discuss in more depth in my next post there are no specific technical standards for the ADA compliance of web sites.   The U.S. Department of Justice, however, is in the process of making a rule that will define the level of compliance needed for websites to be considered “ADA compliant”.   This will have the effect of taking the current – highly ambiguous – compliance process and making it clear and concise.  The rulemaking process for the ADA as applied to websites has been split into two separate rulemaking activities:

The first activity relates to Title II of the ADA, which has to do with State and Local Government websites. The DoJ has issued guidance that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will be issued in December 2013 to further develop the requirements for Title II of the ADA.  As I write this post in January 2014 I am assuming the DoJ has missed the self-imposed December deadline and these regulations will be issued in 2014.  For a complex regulation with such wide impact, however, pushing back issuance dates in common.  For context, the projected date has moved back two years from the start of current guidance for the rulemaking in Fall 2010.  The most recent change to the date, however, was one month from November to December 2013.  Based on the shorter push back in time frames SSB expects DoJ is nearing completion of the NPRM and it will be issued in the first half of 2014.   These regulations will eventually amend 28 CFR 35. The Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is 1190-AA65 and more information on RIN 1190-AA65 can be found on reginfo.gov.

The second, and potentially far wider activity, relates to Title III of the ADA, which has to do with public accommodations. Public accommodations are broadly defined, and include a wide swath of the private sector. The Department of Justice has issued guidance that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will be issued in April 2014 to further develop the requirements for Title III of the ADA.   As with the Title II rulemaking the projected date for the issuance of the NPRM has moved back from the start of current guidance in Fall 2010 – in this case about 2 1/4 years.  The most recent change to the date, however, was one month from March to April 2014.  Based on the shorter push back in time frames SSB expects DoJ is nearing completion of the NPRM and it will be issued in mid-2014.   These regulations will eventually amend 28 CFR 36. The Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is 1190-AA61 and more information on RIN 1190-AA61 can be found on reginfo.gov.