Is Your Website Legal?

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Is your website legal? Many companies think about advertising standards, copyright, and potentially libellous or corrupting content when considering the law. But there is a law that affects everyone who deals with the public in the UK, which came into force in 1995.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the DDA) makes it unlawful to provide a service that is not accessible to everybody. It is irrelevant whether the service is provided with or without payment. The legislation is clearly applicable to information and services supplied via the Internet.

The implications for your organisation of having a website that is accessible to disabled visitors is not just that you are conforming with the law. You will be building a reputation as a company that cares, and delivering your message to a significantly wider audience.

You should now ask yourself this question: is your website accessible to disabled people?

Many people believe that if they make the text on their website suitably large, or that they make it resizable and include text descriptions of the images on their website then they are fulfilling the needs of disabled visitors.

However, this interpretation is demonstrably short of the mark, and leaves many disabled users of the Internet with websites that are often partly or completely inaccessible.

When you realise that disability does not just refer to visual impairment, but actually refers to all forms of disability it is easy to understand that very large numbers of people have their rights compromised by poorly considered, constructed and designed websites.

Take a learning disability like dyslexia for example. The British Dyslexia Association estimates that 4% of the population is severely affected by dyslexia, and 10% of the population 'show some signs' of the condition.

This means that if your website contains long, rambling sentences, jargon, or unclear navigational devices then 10% of your visitors may be deterred or unable to use your website.

Publication Date: Tuesday 14th October, 2003
Author: Matt Williams View profile

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