Articles on Web Accessibility, the ADA, and Civil Rights


Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP

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"Applying the ADA to the Internet: A Web Accessibility Standard" by Cynthia D. Waddell. Paper presented to the American Bar Association's program "In Pursuit. . . . A Blueprint for Disability Law and Policy." This paper explores the legal implications of the ADA for web sites and notes: "Without the application of ADA requirements to the Internet, new barriers to effective communication and global commerce will be erected that will have a discriminatory impact upon individuals with disabilities."

"Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations" by the U.S. Department of Justice, 28 CFR Parts 35 and 36 CRT Docket No. 110; AG Order No. RIN 1190-AA61. "The Department of Justice is considering revising the regulations implementing title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA or Act) in order to establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Department is also considering revising the ADA´s title II regulation to establish requirements for making the services, programs, or activities offered by State and local governments to the public via the Web accessible. The Department is issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in order to solicit public comment on various issues relating to the potential application of such requirements and to obtain background information for the regulatory assessment the Department must prepare if it were to adopt requirements that are economically significant according to Executive Order 12866."

"How Civil Rights for People with Disabilities Impact the Private Section" by Jennifer Simpson. Paper presented to Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Conference, Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe. This paper discusses the implications of civil rights for issues of accessibility: "The basic concept of civil rights — when applied to the marketplace — is that a person with a disability has the same right to the use and the benefit of goods and services as do people without disabilities. This is based on the understanding that: disability is a natural part of the human condition; anyone at any time in any place can become a person with a disability; society as a whole shares responsibility for disability; it is wrong to put barriers in the way of people with disabilities."

"Is Your Site ADA-Compliant ... or a Lawsuit-in-Waiting?: More ADA-Compliance Information" by Cynthia Waddell and Kevin Thomason. This article in The Internet Lawyer, notes that "Web sites which are perfectly accessible to fully-abled people may be impossible for people with disabilities to access.  For example, that beautiful new law firm site that your high-priced designer just created may be impossible for a person using screen reading technology to navigate; particularly if they are blind/low vision or have a specific learning disability.  Those 'frames' or neat drop-down Java menus on your site may be impossible to use via voice command software.  Your fancy 'streaming audio' online CLE courses or video conferencing events may be impossible for a deaf person to hear."



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