Website Accessibility is enshrined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Part III of the DDA refers to the provision of goods, facilities and services. The Code of Practice specifically mentions websites.
The relevant quotes from the 175-page Code of Practice are:
- 2.2 (p7): The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.
- 4.7 (p39): From 1st October 1999 a service provider has to take reasonable steps to change a practice which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services.
- 2.13 - 2.17 (p11-13): What services are affected by the Disability Discrimination Act? An airline company provides a flight reservation and booking service to the public on its website. This is a provision of a service and is subject to the act.
- 5.23 (p71): For people with visual impairments, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include ... accessible websites.
- 5.26 (p68): For people with hearing disabilities, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include ... accessible websites.
Most people believe that the new laws were implemented in October 2004 when the final part of the DDA came into force. This final piece of legislation actually refered to service providers having to consider making permanent physical adjustments to their premises and is not related to the Internet in any way.
Section III of the DDA, which refers to accessible websites, came into force on 1st October 1999 and the Code of Practice for this section of the DDA was published on 27th May 2002. This means that the majority of websites have been in breach of the law since then.
Can you be sued?
Yes you can. The RNIB has approached two large companies with regard to their websites. When they raised the accessibility issues of the websites under the DDA, both companies made the necessary changes, rather than facing the prospect of legal action (in exchange for anonymity).
In an Australian case in 2000, a blind man successfully sued the Sydney Olympicsorganising committee over their inaccessible website (the Australian Disability Discrimination Act quite closely resembles that of the UK's). Ramada.com and Priceline.com were also successfully sued in America over the accessibility of their websites.
Volute and Accessibility
Volute takes Accessibility issues very seriously, and we ensure that all our sites are accessible.
Accessibility and New Website Builds
Volute includes WCAG Priority 1 accessibility (Level A) as standard with all new website builds, and aims for Priority 2 (Level AA) or Priority 3 (Level AAA) where achievable.
We include a range of Accessibility aids, including
- Ability to adjust the text size
- Access Keys
Accessibility And Your Existing Site
We can also take your existing website and make it accessible? providing your visitors (and search engines) with full access to your site.
Keeping your original design, Volute can edit your existing site to meet WCAG Priority 1 accessibility or higher.
Think about the visitors you could be missing out on. Contact Volute today.