Accessibility

The Disability Discrimination Act

Most websites in the UK are in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. Similar legislation exists in many other countries.

Your website must be accessible to people with disabilities; e.g., colours must provide good contrast between text and background, images must be provided with an alternate text equivalent, and the page structure must meet the requirements of non-visual browsers.

The Olympic
Committee
were fined
A$20,000

So far there is very little case law, as most organisations that have been challenged have opted to fix their sites rather than go to court. UK government sites are making efforts to comply, as are US federal sites. In August 2000 the Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission ordered the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games to make access provisions on their website. They ignored the order and were fined A$20,000. The Australian legislation is very similar to the UK legislation.

Organisations in the UK that offer goods and services on the Web have a legal duty to make their sites accessible. Although "accessible" is not rigidly defined in UK law, in practice this means complying with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibiity Guidelines (W3C WCAG) to at least priority level 1 as recommended by the British Standards Institution (BSI PAS 78) in the UK, and required for federal agencies in the US under the provisions of Section 508 of the the Rehabilitation Act.

Laughing Robot builds sites to follow W3C WCAG, usually at priority level 2 or 3 (beyond the UK legal minimum). We can also modify existing sites to bring them into compliance. (Compliance is measured by online automated checking tools and manual checking of the areas that automated checking tools cannot evaluate.)

Disclaimer: The material contained on this website is general comment for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact a solicitor.