Fact Sheet Summary: ADA Title II Website Accessibility Rule

On April 24, 2024, the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated regulations under Title II of the ADA to enhance accessibility for web content and mobile applications provided by state and local governments. This summary is based on the ADA.gov Fact Sheet and designed to provide a clear understanding of the requirements.

Scope of Title II of the ADA

Title II mandates that state and local governments ensure their services, programs, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. This mandate now explicitly includes digital assets and content such as websites and mobile apps.

Entities Required to Comply

Title II of the ADA covers state and local governments which spans a broad range of public entities, including:

  • State departments and local municipal offices
  • Public schools, community colleges, and state universities
  • Public libraries and parks
  • Local law enforcement agencies and state police
  • Emergency services including fire departments and EMS
  • Public transit authorities
  • City councils and state legislatures
  • Public hospitals and health clinics
  • Other government-operated facilities and services

Core Accessibility Requirements

The rule specifies that all new and updated digital content must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA. The digital assets and content this new rule cover includes websites, web pages, web content, mobile apps, and documents.

Exceptions to Accessibility Requirements

Certain content is exempt from strict compliance under specified conditions:

  1. Archived Web Content: Must be:
    • Created before the compliance deadline.
    • For reference, research, or recordkeeping only.
    • Stored in a designated archived section and not updated post-archiving.
    • Content has not been changed since it was archived.
  2. Pre-existing Electronic Documents: Are exempt if they:
    • Are in one of the following formats: PDF, word processing document, spreadsheet, presentation.
    • Were available before the rule’s enforcement on official government platforms.
  3. Third-party Content: Not controlled by the government, such as user comments on public forums.
  4. Password-Protected Documents:
    • Must relate specifically to an individual, property, or account.
    • Be password-protected or secured by other authentication measures.
    • Must be in PDF, word processing document, spreadsheet, or presentation format.
  5. Pre-existing Social Media Posts: Only posts made before the rule’s enforcement date are exempt.

Compliance Timelines

  • Entities must achieve compliance with WCAG 2.1, Level AA standards by April 2026 or April 2027, depending on the size of the entity.

Ensuring Compliance

The quickest path towards compliance is to form an accessibility committee and organize efforts to source web accessibility work to a service provider who can immediately begin the audit process followed by remediation and user testing.

Use of Conforming Alternate Versions

The rule permits the use of conforming alternate versions of web content and mobile apps when the primary version cannot be immediately made accessible. This provision serves as a temporary measure until the original content can be updated to meet accessibility standards. For example, a government agency might offer an accessible PDF document as an alternative to an inaccessible web page, ensuring that all users have access to the same information.

Training and Resources

Ensuring compliance with the accessibility standards requires comprehensive training for all staff involved in web and mobile application development, maintenance, and content management. The rule stresses the importance of providing adequate training and resources to familiarize employees with accessibility requirements and best practices. This initiative aims to embed a culture of accessibility within all government operations related to digital content.

Feedback Mechanism

State and local governments are required to set up mechanisms to receive and address public feedback regarding the accessibility of their digital platforms. This feedback process is essential for identifying shortcomings in accessibility and making necessary improvements. A typical approach could include a dedicated accessibility feedback form on government websites, enabling users to report issues and suggest enhancements directly related to accessibility.

Public Awareness and Communication

The rule encourages governments to actively communicate their commitment to digital accessibility. This involves publicizing the accessibility policies in place, the measures undertaken to ensure compliance, and the available avenues for individuals with disabilities to request accessible services or content. A proactive communication strategy might include a section on government websites dedicated to explaining the accessibility features provided and detailed guides on how to utilize these features for an optimal user experience.

Historic Rule

This new rule marks a long awaited update to ADA Title II regulation to ensure accessibility in the digital world. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland enacted this historic rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in April of 2024.

As mentioned this new web rule is an enormous first step as it mandates that all state and local governments must make their web content and mobile applications accessible to individuals with disabilities. This development is crucial for enabling equal access to public services such as emergency information, healthcare, education, and voting via digital platforms.

Highlighting the significance of this rule, Garland noted that it is designed to ensure that disabilities do not exclude individuals from accessing essential government services. The rule sets precise technical standards to eliminate various barriers that have historically restricted people with disabilities from fully participating in many aspects of public life, thus marking a significant advancement in fulfilling the ADA’s promise of inclusivity and equal participation in society.

The next and most important milestone is an update to Title III regulation that will apply to private entities who are considered places of public accommodation under the ADA.

In a Nutshell

  • The new web accessibility rule applies broadly to all state and local government bodies, ensuring their websites and mobile apps are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • It mandates conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level AA, setting a high standard for digital content accessibility.
  • Specific exemptions are defined, such as for archived content, pre-existing electronic documents, and third-party contributions that are beyond government control.
  • Deadlines for compliance vary by the size of the entity, with all required to meet the standards by either April 2026 or April 2027.


  • Department of Justice’s (DOJ) official post of the web rule in the Federal Register: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities
  • DOJ Final Rule press release: Justice Department to Publish Final Rule to Strengthen Web and Mobile App Access for People with Disabilities