New York State Web Accessibility Laws

October 9, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: October 30, 2023

New York State

New York State upholds web accessibility standards that are in line with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and WCAG 1.0 level A standards.

The first state policy was instituted in 1996, calling for reasonable accommodation for IT. In 1999 the policy was revised to require WCAG 1.0 level A compliance. In 2004, NY state adopted a hybrid policy if Section 508 and WCAG 1.0 which gets updated every 2 years.

New York State Web Accessibility Policy

NY State’s official web accessibility policy statement, which applies to all state entities and their internal and external websites and applications:

Web-based intranet and Internet information and applications made available by state agency to general public, state employees, and any other persons, will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Policy applies to design, creation, and maintenance of content.

Section 508 Compliance

In October 2010, NY State issued a revised web accessibility policy that requires compliance with Section 508 Subpart B, section 1194.22 and Subpart C, section 1194.31.

The NY State policy for web-based intranet and internet information and applications requires state websites to:

  • Provide Alt text for images, graphs, charts, and other non-text elements.
  • Provide “equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation [that] shall be synchronized with the presentation.” For video, that means closed captioning and video description, when applicable.
  • UI design that functions in black & white just as well as in color.
  • Design pages with an easily readable structure.
  • Provide redundant text links for each active region of a server-side image map.
  • Provide client-side image maps instead of server-side image maps.
  • Markup tables with correct HTML for rows and column headers.
  • Give frames Title text.
  • Design pages that will not cause the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
  • Provide a text-only equivalent page when compliance cannot be accomplished any other way.
  • Allow users to skip repetitive navigation links.
  • Embeded forms must be accessible with assistive technology.
  • Include an alarm warning for any timed response submissions.

Any new content published on NY state sites must conform immediately to these standards.

Accessible Video & Audio

NY State accessibility policy clarifies the remediation for multimedia on state websites:

A.11.1 – Audio: State agencies will provide synchronized text captions for multimedia content containing speech, or other audio necessary to understand the content.

A.11.2 – Video/Visual: State agencies will provide a video description for multimedia content that contains video, or other visual information necessary for the understanding of the content.

New York City Web Accessibility Law

In March 2016, New York City became the first major US city to adopt WCAG standards for municipal websites. NYC government websites have six months to comply with WCAG design standards and Section 508 accessibility requirements.

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Learn About Other U.S. State Accessibility Laws

Click on the map below to learn more about captioning and web accessibility laws in other states.

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