New Year--New Web Accessibility Laws

January 8, 2018

Kendra Barker, M.Ed.
Instructional Designer – Specialist
Collaborative to Advance Health Services
University of Missouri - Kansas City | School of Nursing and Health Studies

It’s that time when we start planning for the New Year: budgets, conferences, marketing materials, and more. As we ring in 2018, it's also time to be thinking about 508 compliance—the laws that require an organizations websites and other electronic publications accessible to people with disabilities. Updates to these laws take effect January 18, 2018, making it vitally important for ATTC to make any changes needed.

See related blog post: Tips for Navigating 508 Compliance

There are new updates of Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), often referred to as the Section 508 Refresher, or the Final Rule. Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines relate to the accessibility of information and resources managed through websites, blogs, web content, etc.

The United States Access Board website states that Section 508 Standards and Section 205 Guidelines apply “to ICT development, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies,” meaning that any federally-funded agency must follow the new Section 508 Refresher when creating anything that will go on the Internet and out to the public. However, it does not apply to websites or web content created before this date.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The main goal of the law is to ensure that newly developed webpages and content will pass the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0, Levels A and AA. WCAG 2.0 was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and sets international accessibility standards. The law not only includes web-based content, but all electronic content.

The best way to make sure you are addressing these changes to the accessibility laws is to plan your project from the beginning with WCAG 2.0 Levels A and AA in mind. It is much more difficult and time-consuming to make websites, web content, etc., compliant after they are created. This includes Word documents, PowerPoints, online courses, marketing material, videos, etc.

Here are some useful resources for you to check out:

WebAim (includes training)

The new web accessibility laws affect the entire ATTC Network. The ATTC Network Coordinating Office will take the lead in keeping us compliant with the accessibility laws and keep the will ATTCs informed.

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