A recent study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that despite legislative requirements, many federal government websites are not accessible for people with disabilities.
ITIF, a non-profit think-tank, tested a number of the most popular federal websites and found that 30 percent did not pass an automated accessibility test for their homepage, and nearly half (48 percent) failed the test on at least one of their three most popular pages. Additionally, one-third of the tested federal websites did not have an easily discoverable page with contact information for users to report accessibility issues.
(The report says that the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earned perfect scores for all three of their top pages.)
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, requires federal agencies to follow modern standards of web accessibility for users with disabilities. The Justice Department submits biennial reports to the president and Congress evaluating agencies’ compliance with Section 508 but, according to the study, these reports have not made available to the public since 2012. The ITIF survey recommends that these compliance reports be made public.
“The lack of transparency makes it more difficult for disability advocates to hold agencies accountable and track their improvement over time,” the report stated. “The lack of public reporting on agencies’ compliance and progress is a disincentive for agencies to improve their digital accessibility, to the detriment of Americans with disabilities.”
The study also recommends the creation of a federal website accessibility test lab, the launching of a series of accessibility “sprints” to fix known problems with the most popular government websites, and conducting a “hackathon” aimed at developing solutions for federal government web accessibility.
VITAC has a long, successful history of working with federal agencies and local governments, and we offer a wide variety of solutions to meet Section 508 requirements as well as those of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Our government customers were the first to caption online video, and we’re proud of our work with the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, just to name a few.
Our government captioning services cover everything from city council meetings and state legislatures to archived videos and prerecorded informational materials that live on government websites. Our captioning professionals can make online video content accessible with completely verbatim and synchronous captions.
Additionally, many government entities use VITAC’s audio description solutions to provide accessibility for individuals who are blind or with low-vision.
VITAC is an industry leader in captioning services, and we continue to expand into new areas of media with our government agency customers. We put client service first, and stand ready to work closely with all of our partners to ensure everyone has access to the most accurate and timely captions, whether it be in the media and entertainment, corporate, education, or government services sectors.