Understanding website accessibility law


If you are building a website, you must be fully aware of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 access law. This law was developed to stop the discrimination that many disabled people feel when using online services. Your website must be fully compliant with the DDA access law or you could face a fine.

Depending on what kind of website you have will determine which parts of the access law apply to you and your business. For instance, if your website provides a service then you cannot make major changes to your website if according to DDA access law it made it more difficult for disabled people to access.

Many disabled people use screen readers. It is unlawful to design your website to make it difficult to access content on your website using screen-reading technology. Some links and PDF documents for instance are difficult to use with screen readers.

It is important to ensure that your website complies with the law, as if it does not, you could face a tribunal if your disabled employees feel your website discriminates against them. Compensation claims are also possible under access law: it is possible for the claimant to apply for compensation for ‘injury to feelings’ for the discrimination they have suffered. The law also gives the person that was discriminated against the right to go to the county court, which could force the website owners to make changes to their site.

Since the initial access law came into force there has not yet been a case of discrimination brought before the courts. You should, though, look closely at the content on your website and take legal advice if you are unsure if any elements of your website do not comply with the access law as it stands at the moment. Court cases can be expensive and damaging to businesses, so check your website and update any pages that might not comply with the law.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about accessibility law, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist discrimination or IT solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local discrimination or IT solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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