January 5, 2017 | East Providence, RI – The Obama Administration has just released a major regulatory rule updating the standards federal agency websites will need to meet in order to adhere to the requirements outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, according to the Access Board’s Twitter account.
— U.S. Access Board (@AccessBoard) January 5, 2017
The new regulations require federal agencies to adjust procurement procedures so that all new websites adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Standards (WCAG 2.0), an expansive, but carefully-developed specification that ensures usability while allowing developers considerable flexibility. The rule brings U.S. policy in line with that of over thirty countries and is the result of over a decade of collaboration between the technology industry, the disability community, and businesses.
We expect this announcement to have significant implications for a wide range of businesses and organizations. Recent federal court cases and Justice Department actions indicate that this rule will be the de facto standard for private entities despite the fact that the official rulemaking for private entities has been delayed until 2018.
The U.S. Access Board submitted the regulations on October 24th, 2016. The Office of Management and Budget approved the final rule on January 5th, 2017. This is the first update to the initial regulations, which were published 16 years ago.
EveryBill will release an expanded analysis in the coming days.