Feeds

Disabled web access is 'being ignored'

Websites risk legal action - DRC

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The legal obligation

The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 states that it is unlawful for "a provider of services" to discriminate against a disabled person in failing to comply with its provisions. At first, there was some ambiguity because the wording of the Act did not specifically mention on-line services - but the consensus has long been that it could be applied to web sites.

Any ambiguity was removed by the DRC's publication in 2002 of a Code of Practice which clarified that businesses should make their web sites accessible to those with disabilities such as hearing or visual impairments.

Ignorance among developers

The investigation also found high levels of ignorance among web developers on both the steps needed and the costs of making their websites accessible for the disabled.

Researchers canvassed the views of nearly 400 website developers. The investigation found that levels of accessibility expertise amongst web developers was low, with only nine per cent claiming any accessibility expertise. Only nine per cent of developers had used disabled people to test their sites.

Among those who commission websites, the DRC found that 97 per cent of large organisations (more than 250 employees) were aware of accessibility as an important issue, and 88 per cent were aware of their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act. But among small and medium-sized businesses, awareness of accessibility as an important issue dropped to 69 per cent and only 48 per cent reported awareness of the legal duty.

Chris Rourke of usability and accessibility specialist User Vision said the findings reveal why inaccessible sites come about. "In addition to the expected conclusion that most sites fail to achieve even the basic (Level A) level of accessibility," commented Rourke, "it shows that the misconceptions from those who commission sites often cause the issue to not be considered."

He continued: "From their discussions with website commissioners and website development agencies, it appears as if the subject is discussed but then dropped, often in pursuit of creative or aesthetic goals. However, to a disabled user, an inaccessible web site is very ugly indeed. Businesses are willingly losing the business of these users as well as risking legal action and PR problems."

The DRC is appealing to developers to involve disabled users with a range of sensory, cognitive and mobility impairments from an early stage in the design process, and asking that they do not rely exclusively on automatic testing software. It recommended that website commissioners should formulate written policies for meeting the needs of disabled people.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Problems with WCAG

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.