Web Accessibility Standards

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) which works collaboratively across the global software community to develop and publish guidelines on web accessibility. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide an overview of what components go into making websites accessible. 

In October 2012 WCAG 2.0 became an International Standard: ISO/IEC 40500:2012 . Our web accessibility software will help you to make your website accessible to a wider audience including people with dyslexia, blindness and low vision and learning disabilities. Recite works across all devices, so your web visitors will be able to access your content at home, in the office or on the go. 

 

Web accessibility and the law

Many countries have passed legislation which covers web accessibility as part of their disability or equality laws. Alongside all the good business and ethical reasons to make your website accessible, it is a good idea to minimise your exposure to legal risk and comply with existing legal standards. Our team of developers built Recite to overcome many of the barriers that make websites inaccessible.  

United Kingdom

WGAG 1AA or WCAG 2AA

Equality Act 2010 X
USA

Section 508 (subset of WCAG 1)

Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act X
Canada

WGAG 2 AA

Human Rights Act 1977 X
EU

WGAG 1AA

European Parliament Resolution (2002) X
Hong Kong

WGAG 2AA

X
India
Guidelines for Indian Government Websites
(based on WCAG 2 A)
X
Austrailia

WCAG 2AA

Disability Discrimination Act X
New Zealand

WCAG 2AA

Human Rights Amendment
Act 2001
X

Law in the UK

Website accessibility is covered in the Equality Act 2010. One of the important provisions in the Act is the right for disabled people to have access to everyday goods and services. The definition of disability is very broad and includes people with physical and mental conditions and impairments; 11 million people in the UK are estimated to be protected under the Act. Service providers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to premises or to the way they provide a service. Under the Act it is unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably because they are disabled. A website is classified as a service and as such, to comply with the law, you must make reasonable adjustments (i.e. ensure your website is accessible) not to treat a disabled people unfavourably because of something connected with their disability. Currently 74% of UK public sector sites & 32% of private sector sites comply with WCAG 2.0 AA. An inaccessible website that prevents someone with dyslexia from accessing your goods and services or from applying for a job with you could result in a discrimination case.

The European Union and web accessibility

The European Commission described the situation regarding web accessibility in the EU as “dire” and issued a ground-breaking proposal for a new directive in December 2012. The main action point from the directive is to ensure all 761,000 public-sector and government websites in the EU are fully accessible by 2015.  

Law in the USA

The law governing web accessibility in the USA is the Americans with Disabilities Act. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been very active in the defence of blind students at Penn State, Florida State, Wright State, New York University and Northwestern University. Google Apps for Education was found to be violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because it failed to translate text into speech.