Advanced Notice - Keep your Website legal - October 2004

31.8.2004

The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) already applies to your company Website, further aspects come into force in October 2004

which require all business to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that their services are accessible to people with disabilities.

Some issues requiring particular attention are:

  1. Home pages that communicate important information using images or animations and act as barriers to visually impaired users. Even though you can see text on the page it may be 'locked up' within an image if the site hasn't been constructed with all user groups in mind.
     
  2. Fly out navigation menus that require accurate mouse control may be regarded as barriers to access for users with motor disabilities. These menu systems are also often invisible to blind users who have special 'speaking' browsers.
     
  3. Screen text that has fixed sizes - users with poor eyesight will need to be able to re-size your text using their own browser settings. This requires detailed understanding of accessible Website construction techniques to get right.
     
  4. Links from buttons which are images instead of from text - again users cannot re-size text that is a part of an image.
     
  5. Low contrast colour schemes or colour combinations that are difficult to read by people with colour blindness. Your options The ideal solution is to make sure that your site is designed and built from the start using techniques that help ensure your Website is accessible to the widest possible audience in accordance with the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (www.w3.org/WAI) and (www.drc-gb.org) .

If you have a strong business case for using a low accessibility technique, you should provide the information in an alternative form for disabled users to access it e.g. text only. Making your site more accessible can also make it more successful - Most of the techniques that are helpful to disabled users are also search engine friendly. So making your site more accessible will also make it easier to find in the search engines. So making sure your Website is legal means you are likely to end up with more visitors both with and without disabilities!

If you have any questions regarding how accessible your current website is or how we can help you regarding web application accessibility please contact us or call 0114 282 3444.

Disclaimer: arkom limited and its agents do not provide legal advice, if you are in any doubt where you or your organisation stands with regard to the law, please consult a legal specialist.