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A big website accessibility announcement from DOJ? Not so much.

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On March 22, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release entitled, "Justice Department Issues Web Accessibility Guidance Under the Americans with Disabilities Act."  In the release, the DOJ said it had that very day published guidelines on web accessibility.

"We have heard the calls from the public on the need for more guidance on web accessibility, particularly as our economy and society become increasingly digitized," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "This guidance will assist the public in understanding how to ensure that websites are accessible to people with disabilities. People with disabilities deserve to have an equal opportunity to access the services, goods and programs provided by government and businesses, including when offered or communicated through websites."

The accessibility community was initially excited at the prospect of the US finally issuing clear and concise guidelines for accessibility.  However, reading through the materials it turns out they are neither.

Parsing through the bevy of background information offered in the guidelines, this is the assistance offered:

Businesses and state and local governments have flexibility in how they comply with the ADA’s general requirements of nondiscrimination and effective communication. But they must comply with the ADA’s requirements.

The guideline does however, reinforce the inferred de facto standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, even if it remains reticent to say so out loud.

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