Marking the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Labor Department has revamped Disability.gov to include social media tools and encourage interaction and feedback. The new Web site allows visitors to sign up for personalized news and updates, participate in online discussions and suggest resources for the site. It also includes a Twitter feed, RSS feeds, a blog, social bookmarking and a user-friendly platform to obtain answers to questions on such topics as finding employment and job accommodations.
Ensuring access to federal Web sites for people with disabilities has been cited as a major challenge facing Web 2.0 adoption in the federal government. All federal Web sites must be compliant with a section of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, which provides guidelines for making federal Web sites accessible to people with disabilities, but many Web 2.0 applications do not meet the criteria for accessibility outlined in the law. Perhaps Disability.gov could become the standard by which the government makes Web 2.0 tools more accessible for disabled Americans as a means to encourage participatory democracy, enhance the ability of disabled federal employees to leverage Web 2.0 in the course of their jobs, and solicit feedback from disabled Americans on the best tools and technologies to use in government to make it a model employer of people with disabilities.