Wisconsin State Web Accessibility Laws
Updated: March 16, 2021
Accessibility in the state of Wisconsin is a priority. The state provides numerous resources to ensure all individuals have “equal communication.” The state even has separate offices focusing on services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Blind and Visually Impaired. In this blog, we explore the Wisconsin web accessibility laws and what they mean for your organization.
People with disabilities in the state of Wisconsin are guaranteed “reasonable accommodation” free of charge by the service provider.
Wisconsin Web Accessibility Laws
Wisconsin State web accessibility laws adhere to the standards set by the U.S. Access Board.
The U.S. Access Board is a federal agency promoting equality for people with disabilities.
Under the U.S. Access Board, Wisconsin web accessibility laws “Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ADA Standards apply to all facilities except public transportation facilities, which are subject to Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ADA Standards.”
The requirements outline “types of facilities covered, set effective dates, and provide additional scoping or technical requirements for those facilities.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.
Title II and III of the ADA relate to web accessibility for State and local entities. Title II applies to public entities such as meeting halls, airports, and police stations. It mandates that public entities cannot refuse to accommodate people with disabilities and must provide the necessary aids for such individuals to have equal access. Under Title II, public videos must also be accessible for individuals with disabilities.
Title III applies to places of public accommodation such as hotels, restaurants, museums, train stations, and movie theaters. Title III can even affect private entities like private universities and private companies. The Title states that individuals with disabilities are entitled to full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, or accommodations at any place of public accommodation.
Wisconsin also applies the ADA Standards which cover minimum requirements for accessible design. These standards apply to all “newly designed and constructed or altered State and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities.”
In addition, Wisconsin offers a self-assessment tool to check the accessibility of programs, services, and activities. The assessment tool uses guidelines from the American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was created “to ensure that the variety of life’s choices and equal opportunities are available to all Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people.”
As required by the ADA, “Equal Communication Access is communication made possible by auxiliary aids and services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-blind.”
The office provides free in-service training or presentation and consultations to ensure effective communication is in place. Effective communication means people with disabilities are given the exact information that hearing people are given.
The rights and laws applied by the state for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals include:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (Federal law)
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504: No individual with a disability can be denied access to federally funded programs or activities because of his or her disability. Such federally funded programs and activities must provide “reasonable accommodations.”
- Wisconsin Apprentice, Employment and Equal Rights Programs Chapter 106 (State law): Individuals with disabilities cannot be discriminated in “apprentice programs, employment programs, and equal rights programs in housing, public places of accommodation or amusement, postsecondary education, education.”
- Wisconsin Fair Employment Law Sections 111.31-111.395 of the Wisconsin Statutes (State law): Employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and licensing agencies cannot discriminate against employees and job applicants because of a disability.
Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired strives to help individuals “achieve their own goals of independent living.” They assist by visiting individuals in their homes, conducting group training, and teaching techniques and technologies for daily living.
Making websites accessible
The state of Wisconsin promises to make “our websites and web applications accessible to all users, including people with disabilities.” State websites must meet the requirements outlined by Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. The act requires:
- Text equivalents for images
- Accessible forms
- Flexible font sizes
- Site functionality without a mouse
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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