Disability Discrimination Act (DDA): Does your website comply?

It’s a fact. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) applies to your website.

A formal DRC (Disability Rights Commission) investigation of 1000 web sites showed that over 80% were next to impossible for disabled people to use.  Firms were warned that they faced legal action under the DDA and the threat of unlimited compensation payments if they failed to make web sites accessible for people with disabilities.

FACT – In 2000 the Sydney Olympic Committee were successfully sued by a blind man for $20,000 (£8,000) over their inaccessible website.

What the DDA says

The Disability Discrimination Act, part 3, refers to the ‘provision of goods, facilities and services’.  More information can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

The relevant quotes from the accepted Code of Practice are:

  • The Disability Discrimination 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.
  • 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.
  • What services are affected by the Disability Discrimination 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Could you be sued?

Maybe.

No cases have yet made it to court in the UK, but it’s more a matter of when than if.

Recently, the RNIB (Royal National Institute of the Blind) have claimed that they’ve considered taking up a number of legal cases against organisations with regard to their web sites.  When they raised accessibility issues of the website under the DDA, companies have typically made the necessary changes, rather than facing the prospect of legal action.

How do you find out if your website is DDA compliant?

Your website should conform to the W3C guidelines for Accessability. Here are some very simple, basic checks you can do for yourself.

  • Can you resize the text on your website to 18px or larger?
  • Can you navigate easily WITHOUT using your mouse?
  • Do ALL images used have ‘Alt’ text?
  • Do Videos have subtitles available?
  • There should be no repeatedly flashing or strobing images.

These are by no means exhaustive but if you’ve failed these basic tests then your website needs some attention.  We can run some checks for you including asking a visually impaired adult to give their feedback.

Don’t be caught out.

Let JK Design ensure that your website complies with the DDA.

For more information call 0151 630 3636 now.