A rapidly increasing number of local governments are becoming the subjects of lawsuits from members of the public alleging that the municipality’s digital content is not compliant with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Two of the most commonly cited grievances include local government websites using PDFs that are incompatible with screen reader technology and videos that fail to offer closed captioning. For municipal clerks responsible for managing public records, agendas, meeting minutes and documentation, and public meeting videos and audio recordings, the potential for a lawsuit is causing compliance-related alarm.
CivicClerk can help.
The CivicClerk agenda and meeting management software from CivicPlus® now offers an incorporated accessibility portal, making it the first and only agenda management software on the market to provide an accessibility portal specifically designed to meet Section 508 and WCAG 2.0.
Accessibility Legal Requirements for Local Governments
Since the passage of the ADA in 1973 government entities have been required to provide equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination relative to employment, government services, public accommodations, facilities, and transportation. The introduction of Section 508 applies to the elimination of information technology barriers for people with disabilities. Section 508 applies only to the U.S. and was updated in January of 2017 to incorporate Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which apply Level A and AA success criteria and conformance requirements to websites and digital content. With nearly 20 percent of all Americans affected by some form of a disability, having an accessible portal for meeting materials is crucial for local governments.
CivicClerk’s Accessibility Portal—The Only Agenda and Meeting Management Software with Integrated ADA Compliance
The CivicClerk Accessibility Portal has been designed to help municipalities comply with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 A and AA requirements. The Accessibility Portal strips out non-compliant design and navigational elements within CivicClerk’s citizen portal to provide disabled citizens with a simple, easy-to-use, and accessible civic content access experience. The Accessibility Portal’s WCAG 2.0 A and AA compliant features include:
- High-contrast fonts and colors for optimal visibility
- Clearly defined and labeled navigational elements including breadcrumbs
- Meeting agendas and supporting documentation converted to PDF/A format for compatibility with screen reader technology
- HTML versions of agendas for compatibility with screen reader technology
- Live Streaming and video and audio recordings of public meetings with compliant closed captioning provided via CP Media
Protect your community from the risk of legal fines and fees, and ensure you are giving every member of your community equitable access to civic participation. For more information on CivicClerk’s Accessibility Portal, and to be among the first local governments with access to this valuable ADA compliance tool, contact us today.