Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities
Townships Online websites are ADA Compliant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, if the government entities receive Federal funding, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, generally require that State and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. One way to help meet these requirements is to ensure that government websites have accessible features for people with disabilities. An agency with an inaccessible website may also meet its legal obligations by providing an alternative accessible way for citizens to use the programs or services, such as a staffed telephone information line. These alternatives, however, are unlikely to provide an equal degree of access in terms of hours of operation and the range of options and programs available. For example, job announcements and application forms, if posted on an accessible website, would be available to people with disabilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Online Barriers Faced By People with Disabilities
Many people with disabilities use "assistive technology" to enable them to use computers and access the Internet. Blind people who cannot see computer monitors may use screen readers - devices that speak the text that would normally appear on a monitor. People who have difficulty using a computer mouse can use voice recognition software to control their computers with verbal commands. People with other types of disabilities may use still other kinds of assistive technology. New and innovative assistive technologies are being introduced every day by Townships Online.
Poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some from entering. Designers may not realize how simple features built into a web page will assist someone who, for instance, cannot see a computer monitor or use a mouse.
One example of a barrier would be a photograph of a Mayor on a town website with no text identifying it. Because screen readers cannot interpret images unless there is text associated with it, a blind person would have no way of knowing whether the image is an unidentified photo or logo, artwork, a link to another page, or something else. Simply adding a line of simple hidden computer code to label the photograph "Photograph of Mayor Jane Smith" will allow the blind user to make sense of the image.
Accessible Design Benefits Everyone
When accessible features are built into web pages, websites are more convenient and more available to everyone, including users with disabilities. Townships Online designers follow techniques developed by private and government organizations to make even complex web pages usable by everyone including people with disabilities. With the rapid changes in the Internet and in assistive technologies used by people with disabilities to access computers, private and government organizations have worked to establish flexible guidelines for accessible web pages that permit innovation to continue.
Information about the ADA
The Department of Justice provides technical assistance to help State and local governments understand and comply with the ADA. An important source of ADA information is the Department�s ADA Home Page on the World Wide Web. This extensive website provides access to ADA regulations; all Department ADA technical assistance materials, including newly-released publications; proposed changes in the ADA regulations; and access to Freedom of Information Act materials, including technical assistance letters. The website also provides links to other Federal agencies with ADA responsibilities.
ADA Home Page