WhiteHouse.gov Commits to Accessibility

Whitehouse.gov in dark mode. To improve accessibility of the White House's website, the website can now be toggled between light and dark mode and also has an option for larger text.

While there’s still no word on whether the White House’s official web page, Whitehouse.gov, will stay in WordPress or moves back to Drupal, there have been some significant changes to the executive branch’s web presence since President Biden took office.

And by significant, I mean pretty much everything but the CMS has changed.

On Inauguration Day, the White House’s website was completely redone—including a new layout, new photos and a new set of priorities displayed on the page.

This site also has two new accessibility features. On the left hand rail there are two buttons giving users the option to switch to dark mode or increase the font size.  

Toggling to dark mode is meant to assist anyone who may be having difficulty reading or looking at a bright white screen with black text.

Meanwhile, the font size button increases the size of the text while maintaining the layout of Whitehouse.gov.

The new administration is also vowing to prioritize accessibility for Whitehouse.gov. They even include this accessibility statement:

“This commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans.

Our ongoing accessibility effort works towards conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1, level AA criteria. These guidelines not only help make web content accessible to users with sensory, cognitive and mobility disabilities, but ultimately to all users, regardless of ability.

Our ongoing accessibility efforts work toward making WhiteHouse.gov as accessible as possible. The White House welcomes comments on how to improve the site’s accessibility for users with disabilities.”

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates that federal agencies ensure electronic communication is accessible.

This administration, however, is promising to implement the international standards for accessibility. By pledging to work towards conforming to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the Biden web team is going to do more than is required by Section 508.

Of course, making a website more accessible is always good design. Changes that might help someone with low vision will also help a multitude of other users. Describing pictures accurately in the ALT text is helpful for anyone trying to find your picture.

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