The Slow March Towards Accessibility


Electronic document accessibility lags behind available technology.

Unsurprisingly, federal agencies are still falling short on requirements in the Rehabilitation Act to make electronic documents accessible for people with disabilities, according to a recent Senate report.

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) is released Unlocking the Virtual Front Door, a report detailing the findings of an 11-month investigation that found widespread failure

According to the report, federal websites, particularly within the Department of Veterans Affairs, are out of compliance—creating barriers for people with disabilities who rely on federal technology for essential services, including health care, employment, Social Security, and more.” The report faulted agencies with a lack of internal attention to the requirements and delays in addressing violations even when they are pointed out.

“We would not ask someone using a wheelchair to walk up the courthouse steps. Yet, the government does something similar every time it asks people with disabilities to use inaccessible federal websites, mobile apps and other technology,” Casey said.

Covid 19 increased the need for electronic document access, and demonstrated how important accessibility is. This report showed how slow the progress has been, even for Federal agencies, often taking years to Section 508 violation.

We have the technology- let’s pick up the pace!