Web Accessibility – fading into the background

The Disability Rights Commission announced in October 2004 that it was prepared to back court cases regarding web accessibility, in so far as web sites breached Section 2 of the Disability Discrimination Act (UK).

Almost six months later, and it appears the threat was little more than hot air. Few if any FTSE100 sites have yet achieved true Level 2 compliance, the baseline set by EU guidelines, and indeed most fall well short of Level 1. This has been succinctly pointed out by research from NoMensa and a number of other reports, yet apart from minor cases settled out of court, no offender has been named and shamed.

Herein lies the clue: without the threat of financial penalty and/or public humiliation, no major company will bother to make life easier for users. It’s simply not in their DNA; in-house designers are either too set in their ways or too overworked, and agencies will only take an interest if they can charge for doing so.

So what are often simple changes to make in web practice go begging, along with the opportunity for better web practice and common web standards.

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