A snapshot of the new ADA Web Accessibility Standards & Requirements Rule.

What does the new Rule on the Accessibility of Web Content and Mobile Apps really mean?

As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2024, one of the topics we want to cover is the new ADA rule on the accessibility of web content and mobile apps. This is important for our customers in the United States of America. This is an opportunity to review the accessibility and quality of your web content and mobile apps, to make sure you’re delivering accessible services the right way by enabling everyone to access them. 


The background

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. For the first time since the ADA was launched, on April 24th 2024, a new rule launched for technical requirements to now exist for applying ADA to web content and mobile applications. The Federal Register published the Department of Justice’s (Department) final rule and updated its regulations for Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to make sure that their services, programs, and activities that they offer online and through mobile apps are accessible to people with disabilities*1.

The final rule has specific requirements about how to ensure that web content and mobile applications are accessible to people with disabilities. We outline more detail on the requirements in this blog.


A round up of the new rule

The new rule applies to organizations in the United States of America that are covered under Title II of the ADA. This includes state and local governments, including public schools and universities who need to ensure that their services, programs, and activities are accessible to people with disabilities.

Examples of state and local governments include:

  • State and local government offices that provide benefits and/or social services, like food assistance, health insurance, or employment services
  • Public schools, community colleges, and public universities
  • State and local police departments
  • State and local courts
  • State and local elections offices
  • Public hospitals and public healthcare clinics
  • Public parks and recreation programs
  • Public libraries
  • Public transit agencies

Source: ada.gov

For the organizations mentioned above, their web content and mobile apps (when they are not subject to the rule’s exceptions) must conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at Level AA

It is worth noting that there are different deadlines for conformance depending on the size of your organization.

  • Organizations of 50,000 people or more have a deadline of April 24, 2026
  • Organizations smaller than 50,000 people, have a deadline of April 24, 2027

The rule does have exceptions where the technical requirements don’t apply.

Exceptions of the rule include: 

  • Certain formats of content that were published before your organization’s deadline date such as;
    • Archived web content
    • social media posts 
    • digital/electronic documentation (e.g. PDFs)
  • Password-protected personal documents such as;
    • content posted voluntarily by a third party (e.g. comments on a web page or in an online discussion forum).
    • Content that exists on a password-protected website such as; a water or tax bill. 

For detailed information about the exceptions, visit ADA’s fact sheet


Why was this rule created?

State and local governments provide important and sometimes critical services to the public. When websites or mobile apps containing important information aren’t accessible, this creates barriers for people with disabilities. For tasks such as getting tax information, making payments e.g. for garbage collection or tax, to participating in community events such as town hall meetings, if web content and mobile apps aren’t accessible this prevents people from accessing these services. 

The rule is not only there to improve digital services for everyone, but is there to provide clearer rules for state and local governments to comply with ADA. 


What actions do you need to take?

If you weren’t aware, Jadu is on a mission to become the world’s most accessible digital platform. As part of our mission, we are focusing on the message that while there are new/updated laws, legislation and guidelines, accessibility is about doing the right thing for everyone. Whilst this blog focuses on the new rule, we want to remind everyone that accessibility is all about the end user. If you want to learn more about our mission or our accessibility services, get in touch.

Other useful resources:

Sources used for this blog post: 

  1. ADA.gov factsheet,
  2. Tpgi, The ADA now has regulations for accessibility  of- web content and mobile apps.
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