MCUL Files Comment Letter on Website Accessibility (Misc News: January 25, 2011)
MCUL voiced serious concerns in a Jan. 24 Comment Letter to U.S. Department of Justice over its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) intended to collect public comment to formulate a future proposal establishing criteria to make websites accessible to persons with disabilities.
The 20-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act calls for DOJ to set standards over time that would require “places of public accommodation” to ensure access to persons with disabilities. Under the ADA, the reach of compliance is very broad and credit unions are included in the definition of “places of public accommodation.” Thus, they would be subject to new standards which drives the importance of providing comment.
As noted in the ANPR, websites are becoming the primary tool for disseminating information and transacting business upon which society is becoming more and more dependent. This technological and societal evolution is triggering the need for DOJ to begin creating accessibility standards for websites for persons with disabilities.
"While MCUL generally supports efforts to provide accessibility, a primary concern is over the costs and manpower needed to implement such standards especially for smaller institutions," MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams said. "Further, what makes this ANPR truly burdensome is the inherent challenge of making a website accessible for the vision impaired. Similar to the ADA requirements for ATMs, the MCUL feels that these regulations ignore the extraordinary costs associated with a fairly minimal enhancement for the vision impaired given the practical limitations associated with making these changes."
While the ANPR is the first step in this proposal process, it is important to provide this feedback as it will help shape the future proposal, which will represent another opportunity for comment.