accessibility standards & guidelines
Making sure your company or organization adheres to Accessibility Guidelines can be a daunting proposition. Check below for information about some of the major disability regulations worldwide and how they apply to you.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Created in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a U.S. civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act originally applied to brick and mortar locations only. But, in recent years, the courts have ruled that it also applies to websites and web products.
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are the technical guidelines created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for developing accessible web-based content for businesses and non-governmental organizations. WCAG governs accessibility worldwide, in the U.S., the UK, the EU, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
Section 508 Standards
If you work for a U.S. Federal Government Agency (directly or as a contractor), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to you. Section 508 Standards govern electronic technology used by the federal government, including website accessibility. If you work for Federal Agencies, you may be asked for a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template detailing compliance with Section 508.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
These standards apply to all people, and public and private organizations, in Ontario. The Act covers information, customer service, transportation, employment, and the design of public spaces. The goal is to have accessibility implemented by 2025.
EN 301 549
EN 301 549 is the European standard for technology accessibility in the public sector. These standards apply to all digital technology, including websites, software, electronic devices, and apps. They ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy full access.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA is a U.S. Federal law that protects the privacy of students’ education records. It applies to all schools, school districts, and other institutions that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Parents and students age 18+ (including the disabled) must be able to access their records.
Title II & III of the ADA
Title II applies to Public Services (State and Local Government). Title III applies to Public Accommodations Operated by Private Entities. In recent years, U.S. courts have interpreted Title II and Title III as applying to web-based content and services. Thus, the number of website accessibility lawsuits being filed is growing each year.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law regarding data protection, privacy, and website accessibility within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside EU and EEA areas.
The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
Signed into law in 2010, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibiity Act was enacted to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to advanced communications, like digital, broadband, and mobile products and services.
Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0
Authoring tools are software and services that web developers use to produce web content. ATAG documents explain how to make the authoring tools themselves accessible, so that people with disabilities can create web content, and help authors create more accessible web content.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)
COPPA applies to owners or operators of websites and online services geared to children younger than 13 years old. It also applies to the operators of services and sites that knowingly collect personal information from these children. The consequences for violating COPPA can be costly.
The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
In 1996, HIPAA was passed to protect an individual's medical information. It allows everyone - including the disabled - to request to see or receive copies of their medical records. HIPAA also enables people to request revisions to their records and learn how their information is used and shared.