United States legislating to make all web devices accessible
In July, the US House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, designed to ensure access to rich web content across a whole plethora of devices.
Following the successful passage of the legislation, proponent Edward Markey had the following to say:
Whether it's a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue – it's a participation issue,said Markey.Two decades ago, Americans with disabilities couldn't get around if buildings weren't wheelchair accessible; today it's about being Web accessible. The ADA mandated physical ramps into buildings. Today, individuals with disabilities need online ramps to the Internet so they can get to the Web from wherever they happen to be.
Passage of this bill is a landmark achievement in the fight for equal access to technology for all Americans. From the time of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan - through the Americans with Disabilities Act - to closed captioning for television programming and ability of the deaf to make telephone calls – and now to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, we've made important progress.
We've moved from Braille to Broadcast, from Broadband to the Blackberry. We've moved from spelling letters in someone's palm to the Palm Pilot. And we must make all of these devices accessible.
This is an exciting step forward for web accessibility, and one that is in effect being followed by other countries, including Australia, in their adoption of the WCAG 2.0 standard.