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 minimize your exposure to legal risk and comply with existing legal standards. Our team of developers built Recite Me to overcome many of the barriers that make websites inaccessible.
In the United States to support accessibility, there are two main Acts to follow. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Secondly Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires all Federal agencies' electronic and information technology to be accessible to those with disabilities.
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 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 (EU) Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications requires EU member states to make sure their websites and mobile apps meet common accessibility standards. The Directive uses the four principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, requiring that public sector organisations across the EU take steps to make sure their websites are “Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.