Web accessibility in the public and private sectors in the United States of America is regulated with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Americans With Disabilities Act is an anti-discrimination law that recommends organizations provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities.
The scope of the ADA extends not only to physical locations but to any platform for public use, including:
- State and local government websites (Title II);
- Companies open to the public (Title III).
It is usually up to the courts to determine whether and how ADA standards apply to websites. US jurisprudence has established sites within the scope of Title III, the so-called place of public accommodation.
ADA, therefore, does not deal explicitly with the operational aspect of Web accessibility, even after undergoing several amendments in recent years.
An official control tool also allows you to verify the website’s adherence to the ADA standards in a few steps, which aligns with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
From a technical point of view, in addition to the guidelines provided on the ADA portal, the accessibility of websites is regulated by the so-called Section 508 amendment of the broader Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that governs the needs of disabled workers in the electronics and computer sectors.
Section 508 applies only to federal websites and to all sites of entities contracted with a federal agency or receiving federal funds for a project. Websites operated by state or local governments or public sector organizations may freely adhere to the Section 508 guidelines.
The measure currently affects the entire ICT sector, including:
- Computer and communication devices
- Media and mass storage devices
- Digital documents
- Software and operating systems.
In Section 508, the US Access Board provides the technical requirements that computer systems must meet to effectively ensure the accessibility and usability of persons with disabilities of websites and mobile applications.
The latest update to Section 508, which took place in 2018, aligns the provision with the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines.
Since 2010, audiovisual content that falls under the telecommunications branch is finally regulated by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).
Specifically, the CVAA requires that advanced communication services and products be accessible to people with disabilities, including within the category also web browsers that make use of assistive technologies.
This law extends to websites that host TV-originated video content: if these programs were subtitled during airing, they would need to be subtitled even when distributed over the Internet.