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ADA Compliance

What is the definition of Disability under the ADA?

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The  ADA Compliance is a civil rights law 

that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, 

schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The 

purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities 

as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those 

provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees 

equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, 

transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into 

five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. 

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA Compliance is a civil rights law 

that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, 

schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The 

purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities 

as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those 

provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees 

equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, 

transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into 

five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. 

 

In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became 

effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of 

"disability". The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, 

including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local 

governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer and joint management labor 

committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation). 

 

It is important to remember that in the context of the ADA, "disability" is a legal term rather than a 

medical one. Because it has a legal definition, the ADA`s definition of disability is different from how 

disability is defined under some other laws, such as for Social Security Disability related benefits. 

 

The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that 

substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such 

impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a 

disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a 

person based on that person`s association with a person with a disability. 

 

 

WCAG 2.1 Compliance 

WCAG 2.1 ComplianceWCAG 2.1 Background 

 

On June 5, 2018 the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 became an official W3C Recommendation. 

WCAG 2.1 Compliance adds one new guideline and seventeen new success criteria to the existing WCAG 

2.0. These success criteria extend WCAG 2.0 to improve accessibility for people using mobile devices and 

for people with low vision or cognitive impairments. 

 

WCAG 2.0 has been a W3C recommendation since 2008. The Guidelines focus on Web content and are 

technology neutral. While HTML is the de facto language of the Web, WCAG 2.0 included other 

technologies of the time such as Flash, JavaScript, and WAI-ARIA, which was still under development. 

The age of the smartphone and mobile Web was just beginning. There were also some disability types 

that did not get much coverage in WCAG 2.0 - namely low vision and cognitive. The technology 

landscape has changed in the last 10 years and WCAG 2.0 needed an update. 

 

The WCAG 2.1 Working Group polled various disability groups to determine the most pressing issues. 

They researched and prioritized community input to propose new success criteria. Success Criteria must 

be testable and an implementation must exist in order for a proposal to reach specification status. The 

global community can be confident that the new success criteria are achievable because several 

organizations, EqualWeb included, have implemented them. 

Some things to note as you look at the new Guidelines: 

 

 

 

WCAG 2.1 does not alter or change WCAG 2.0. It is fully backward compatible. 

Content that conforms to WCAG 2.1 also conforms to WCAG 2.0. 

Compliance at the AA level is still recommended. 

New success criteria were added at the end of the list of the existing ones associated with the relevant 

guideline. 

The order and numbering of WCAG 2.0 are therefore maintained, but the success criteria in each 

guideline are no longer grouped by conformance level. 

 

WCAG 2.0 Compliance 

Understanding WCAG 2.0 is an essential guide to understanding and using "Web Content Accessibility 

Guidelines 2.0" (WCAG2.0). The concepts and provisions may be new to some people. Understanding 

WCAG 2.0 provides a non-normative extended commentary on each guideline and each Success 

Criterion to help readers better understand the intent and how the guidelines and Success Criteria work 

together. It also provides examples of techniques or combinations of techniques that the Working Group 

has identified as being sufficient to meet each Success Criterion. Links are then provided to write-ups for 

each of the techniques. 

 

Section 508 Compliance 

Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their ICT such as technology, on-line training and websites 

accessible for everyone. This means that federal employees with disabilities are able to do their work on 

the accessible computers, phones and equipment in their offices, take on-line training or access the 

agency`s internal website to locate needed information. Section 508 Compliance also means that a 

person with a disability applying for a job with the federal government or a person who is using an 

agency`s website to get information about a program, or completing an online form has access to the 

same accessible information and resources available to anyone. 

 

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is any equipment or system that is used to create, 

convert, duplicate or access information and data. 

 

Examples of ICT include, but are not limited to: 

  • Telephones, smart phones and mobile devices 

  • Televisions, DVD players and videotaped productions 

  • Internet and Intranet websites 

  • PDF documents 

  • Content on DVDs and CDs 

  • On-line training 

  • Webinars and teleconferencing 

  • Technical support call centers 

  • Remote access websites and tools 

  • Tablet, laptop and desktop computers 

  • Software and operating systems 

  • User guides for software and tools 

  • Copiers, printers and fax machines 

Understanding the Four Principles of Accessibility

 

The guidelines and Success Criteria are organized around the following four principles, which lay the 

foundation necessary for anyone to access and use Web content. Anyone who wants to use the Web 

must have content that is: 

 

  • Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can`t be invisible to all of their senses) 

  • Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform) 

  • Understandable - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding) 

  • Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.  

 

This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and 

user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible) 

 

If any of these are not true, users with disabilities will not be able to use the Web. 

 

Under each of the principles are guidelines and Success Criteria that help to address these principles for 

people with disabilities. There are many general usability guidelines that make content more usable by 

all people, including those with disabilities. However, in WCAG 2.0, we only include those guidelines that 

address problems particular to people with disabilities. This includes issues that block access or interfere 

with access to the Web more severely for people with disabilities.