March 15, 2006

Commission Seeks High-Profile Legal Challenge Over Web Access

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

LONDON, ENGLAND--Six years ago, the Disability Discrimination Act made it illegal in the United Kingdom to produce Internet websites that are not accessible to users with disabilities.

Despite the law and numerous campaigns to assist and educate website developers, an investigation made public Tuesday by the Disability Rights Commission revealed that 81 per cent of UK websites still are illegally inaccessible.

The results of the investigation came as the DRC announced the publication of a new web accessibility guide developed with the British Standards Institution.

While the DRC receives about 2,000 calls each week regarding web accessibility problems, few callers have been willing to file complaints and nearly none have been willing to take legal action.

The few cases that have led to lawsuits have generally been settled out of court, presumably to avoid bad publicity.

The Register reported Friday that the DRC is now looking for a high profile legal case. It wants people with disabilities to take a stand -- all the way to the courts, if need be -- against inaccessible Internet sites.

"It will be a part of our marketing to encourage people to ring us and complain," a DRC spokesperson told the Register.

"Call for disabled internet revolt" (The Register)

"User-friendly websites for all" (Disability Rights Commission)

"PAS 78 Guide to Good Practice in Commissioning Accessible Websites" (British Standards Institute)

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Posted on March 15, 2006