NYC No Habla Español

Problem

New York City Council Committee on Technology, will hear two bills examining the accessibility of New York City’s websites to persons with disabilities and those who are limited-English-proficient.

According to 2013 Census data, nearly a quarter of New York City residents identify as being able to speak English “less than very well.” However, more than 25% of city agency websites do not have prominently featured translation capabilities, including CUNY, NYPD and FDNY, potentially impeding a large segment of New Yorkers from finding and understanding the delivery of crucial city services. Introduction 673-2015, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would require every city agency website to provide a translation feature.

Federal Disability Rights law requires state and local governments to provide persons with disabilities equal access to programs and services, but there is an uneven application of features across the city’s websites to ease use for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, and those with physical or neurological impairments. Introduction 683-2015, sponsored by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, would require all New York City websites to meet the technical standards for accessibility for persons with disabilities as are used for federal websites.

Representatives from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and disability and language access advocates are expected to testify.