National laws & Standards related to Web accessibility
Websites and applications created at MIT are governed and guided by a handful of national laws that pertain to accessibility. These laws are evolving as technology evolves and we recommend becoming familiar with the following guidelines as you consider production of web content, mobile, and online applications.
- Title III of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
- Section 504
- W3C's WCAG 2.0, ATAG, and UAG
- Section 508
Title III of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
Public Accomodations and services operated by private entities
Prohibition of discrimination. No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any private entity who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.
- non-residential places of lodging
- establishments serving food/drink
- places of exhibition or entertainment
- places of public gathering
- sales or rental establishments
- service establishments
- stations used for specified public transportation
- places of public display/collection
- places of recreation
- places of education
- social service center establishments
- places of exercise/recreation
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - Nondiscrimination Under Federal Grants and Programs
Sec. 504.(a) No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 7(20), shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service. The head of each such agency shall promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the amendments to this section made by the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Act of 1978. Copies of any proposed regulation shall be submitted to appropriate authorizing committees of Congress, and such regulations may take effect no earlier than the thirtieth day after the date on which such regulation is so submitted to such committees.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "program or activity" means all of the operations of -
(1)(A) a department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or
(B) the entity of such a State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;
(2)(A) a college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or
(B) a local educational agency (as defined in section 14101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965), system of vocational education, or other school system;
(3)(A) an entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship-
(i) if assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or
(ii) which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or
(B) the entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or
(4) any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3); any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance.
(c) Small providers are not required by subsection (a) to make significant structural alterations to their existing facilities for the purpose of assuring program accessibility, if alternative means of providing the services are available. The terms used in this subsection shall be construed with reference to the regulations existing on the date of the enactment of this subsection.
(d) The standards used to determine whether this section has been violated in a complaint alleging employment discrimination under this section shall be the standards applied under title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12111 et seq.) and the provisions of sections 501 through 504, and 510, of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12201-12204 and 12210), as such sections relate to employment.
The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
WCAG 2.0 success criteria are written as testable statements that are not technology-specific. Guidance about satisfying the success criteria in specific technologies, as well as general information about interpreting the success criteria, is provided in separate documents. See Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview for an introduction and links to WCAG technical and educational material.
WCAG 2.0 succeeds Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 [WCAG10], which was published as a W3C Recommendation May 1999. Although it is possible to conform either to WCAG 1.0 or to WCAG 2.0 (or both), the W3C recommends that new and updated content use WCAG 2.0. The W3C also recommends that Web accessibility policies reference WCAG 2.0.*From the W3C
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) Overview
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0
Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.