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California’s Proposed Website Accessibility Law: What Businesses Need to Know

By Higher Information Group on October 5, 2023 | Marketing Solutions

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital accessibility, California is taking a significant step. AB 1757, initially designed to address court consolidation, has undergone a transformative shift. It now proposes stringent accessibility standards for websites and mobile applications, affecting businesses across the state and potentially setting a national precedent.

Key Highlights:

Heightened Standards

AB 1757 mandates compliance with WCAG 2.1 Level AA Standards for websites and mobile apps accessed in California. Failure to comply could result in penalties, statutory damages, and more.

Broad Applicability

Any business with an online presence accessible in California falls under the purview of this proposed law. (This carries implications for businesses beyond CA, since most websites can be accessed across the country.)

Key Compliance Requirements

Businesses must adhere to comprehensive accessibility standards, including synchronized captions for live audio content and audio descriptions for prerecorded video content.

Legal Standards

The legislation introduces the “Equally Effective Communication” standard, enabling individuals with disabilities to seek damages if they encounter barriers to access.

Shared Liability

Both businesses and third-party developers could face liability for accessibility issues, creating a reciprocal relationship.

No Transition Period

If enacted, businesses won’t have a grace period for compliance.

National Implications

AB 1757’s reach extends beyond California, potentially making WCAG 2.1 AA the de facto national standard. This raises questions about its interplay with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Road Ahead

While AB 1757 is currently on hold, it could become law in 2024. As businesses navigate this evolving landscape, staying informed is crucial.

Is website accessibility relevant for your business? Have questions on how to mitigate the risk of an ADA compliance lawsuit and ensure your website is inclusive and accessible to all? Our digital marketing team can help. We partner with the pros at accessiBe to help websites achieve full ADA compliance within 48 hours.

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