Illinois State Web Accessibility Laws
Illinois demonstrates a proactive approach to web accessibility when it comes to state policy. It joins a handful of other states that have adopted their own “little 508s” that mimic the federal disability law, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Section 508 requires federal agencies and departments to design websites, software, and digital products and services that are fully accessible to users with disabilities. Illinois passed the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) to reflect the spirit of Section 508 at the state level.
Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act
In 2007, Illinois state government passed Public Act 095-0307, the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA). The law went into effect in 2008, and it applies to all IT procurement by the state thereafter.
The IITAA charged the Illinois Department of Human Services to publish an official state guide on accessibility standards. These standards address the procurement, design, and testing of government IT products to ensure accessibility.
On the IITAA website, they indicate that these rules “were designed to align with existing and proposed Federal standards as closely as possible, and will be updated when the new Section 508 standards are released.”
Who Needs Access to Illinois IT?
The IITAA defines exactly what kinds of disabilities need to be accommodated for state IT. Universal web design must include:
- People with limited or no vision
- People who have limited to no hearing
- People with mild to severe speech impairments
- People with limited reach, strength, or dexterity
Accommodations for these types of disabilities include adding closed captions to videos, providing a transcript for audio files, making sure websites are navigable by keyboard, adding alt text to images and graphs, including downloadable text-only or accessible PDF versions of web content, and more.
Who Must Comply with the IITAA?
- All agencies, departments, and divisions of the state executive branch.
- All agencies, departments, and divisions of the state legislative branch.
- All agencies, departments, and divisions of the state judicial branch.
- Constitutional offices
- Public universities
Note that the IITAA does not apply to municipal governments, K-12 schools, community colleges, or private organizations.
Does Illinois Require Closed Captioning for Online Videos?
Yes, the IITAA requires state-run organizations to include text equivalents for their online multimedia files.
The exact wording of the universal design standards:
All video and multimedia that contain essential auditory information shall be open or closed captioned when provided to the public and/or required to be viewed by employees.
Display or presentation of alternate text presentation or audio descriptions shall be user-selectable unless permanent.
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