The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) & Web Accessibility

There’s been widespread speculation about the new legislation being introduced under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), which will ensure that websites are accessible to blind and disabled users. Try to find specific information about it on the Internet and chances are you’ll come up empty handed.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) & Web Accessibility

There’s been widespread speculation about the new legislation being introduced under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), which will ensure that websites are accessible to blind and disabled users. Try to find specific information about it on the Internet and chances are you’ll come up empty handed.

The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and the DRC (Disability Rights Commission), two of the most renowned advocates for the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and accessible websites, have no specific information about the laws and what websites specifically need to do in order to meet the legal requirements.

So, what does the law state?

Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act refers to the provision of goods, facilities and services. The Code of Practice, which specifically mentions websites, can be downloaded in its entirety from the DRC website

The relevant quotes from this 175-page document are:

  • 2.2 (p7): “The Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.”
  • 4.7 (p39): “From 1st October 1999 a service provider has to take reasonable steps to change a practice which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services.”
  • 2.13 � 2.17 (p11-13): “What services are affected by the Act? An airline company provides a flight reservation and booking service to the public on its website. This is a provision of a service and is subject to the act.”
  • 5.23 (p71): “For people with visual impairments, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include … accessible websites.”
  • 5.26 (p68): “For people with hearing disabilities, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include … accessible websites. ”

When does the law come into force?

It’s widely believed that the new laws will be implemented in October of this year, when the final part of the DDA comes into force. This final piece of legislation actually refers to service providers having to consider making permanent physical adjustments to their premises and is not related to the Internet in any way.

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