Public Entity Websites and Online Services

Submit your comments via the NFB webform.

Ensuring access to digital information is a high priority of the NFB and the nation’s blind. For many years, the federal government has considered proposing a regulation that would clarify the requirements for accessibility of websites and online services provided by public entities. Such entities include state and local government websites, as well as those of public schools and colleges. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice published a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities (SANPRM) in the Federal Register. The SANPRM seeks additional information about the impact, costs, and benefits of accessibility of public entity websites and online services on people with disabilities.

We know the best source of the information the DOJ is seeking is you and your personal experiences. How have you been impacted by inaccessible online voting services, public school and college websites, state or local government online job applications, and other public entity websites and online services? Please take a few minutes to review the questions below and share your stories. This is a critical opportunity to collectively demonstrate to the federal government why accessibility matters. Your participation as a part of the NFB’s organized response effort is important.

For more information about the SANPRM, please see http://www.ada.gov/regs2016/sanprm.html. To submit your comments, visit the NFB's webform or contact Kyle Walls, NFB Advocacy and Policy Program Assistant at 410-659-9314, extension 2223, or kwalls@nfb.org. We will be gathering member stories through September 2. Comments should be in the form of a letter addressed to Vanita Gupta, U.S. Department of Justice Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and should incorporate your responses to the questions below as they pertain to you. Upon receipt, the NFB will review and submit your comments to Regulations.gov. Submitted comments will include your name, city, and state. The NFB will contact you directly regarding questions about your comments; please include your phone number in your email to Kyle Walls.


Suggested format for comments:

Vanita Gupta
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Main
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Ms. Gupta:

My name is [insert]. [Describe yourself here--your occupation, where you live, and the assistive technology you typically use (JAWS, ZoomText, VoiceOver, etc).]

I urge the Department of Justice to promptly implement technical standards for public websites in alignment with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA. Accessible websites are important to me because [answer any of the following prompts]

  1. Please identify significant barriers you have faced in the past five years as the result of inaccessible state or local public entity websites and online services, including but not limited to:
    • Online voting and voter registration
    • Applying for a state or local government job
    • K-12 school websites and online educational tools and services (as a parent, teacher or student)
    • Public college or university websites and online educational tools and services (such as a state or community college)
    • Requesting food stamps or other state or local public benefits or assistance
    • Appealing a property tax assessment
    • Making online payments for city or state services
    • Obtaining information about city, state, or local government services
    • Include in your response the approximate date or year you encountered the barrier and the name of the government entity, school, or website, if known.
  2. For each barrier you identified, describe your experience. Include in your response (a) what you were trying to accomplish and why; (b) the accessibility barrier(s) you encountered; (c) what happened as the result of the barrier (i.e., did you miss a deadline; have to spend additional time or resources to complete the action; file a complaint and receive a response, etc.?)
  3. What was the impact to you of the barrier(s) you experienced? What would it have meant to you to have had independent online access? If all public websites were required to be accessible, how would that benefit you?
  4. Please identify significant positive experiences you have had in the past five years using accessible state or local public entity websites and online services. Include in your response the approximate date or year you used the website and the name of the government entity, school, or website, if known.
  5. For each positive experience you identified, describe what happened. Include in your response (a) what you were trying to accomplish and why; (b) how you were able to achieve the result; (c) how the accessible website or online service benefited or impacted you.
  6. Please provide any additional comments.


[Your name]
[Address or city and state]
[Email address]


Thank you for preparing your comments and contributing to the effort to ensure web accessibility for blind Americans! Remember to submit your comments via the NFB webform or email them to kwalls@nfb.org by September 2, 2016.