Equal Opportunity Websites
Many businesses have ignored this issue at their peril!
It will become an increasingly important aspect of legal advice, compliance and web design requirements-indeed, if you are presently discussing your website, do get in the contract a requirement that the designer incorporates “all relevant requirements under any disability laws”.
The website is viewable all over the world and there are different regulations that apply in different countries-here we concentrate on the EU (the regulations are different in the various EU countries, but not much).
Consider how much importance there is in the web for the disabled. Consider also how many disabled people there are and that at present your business may not be effectively “selling” to them. The Disability Discrimination Act
This covers sites that are providing information only (so called “brochure sites”) as well as “e-commerce” sites. Very basically, it provides that it is discrimination to fail to provide any service to a disabled person that is offered to another. Also, service providers have to make “reasonable adjustments” to their procedures if they make it difficult for the disabled to use them: one must provide auxiliary aids or services.
It is important to note that, as technology (and maybe the ability of web designers) changes, then the site needs to keep up. It will not be good enough simply to say that your web designer has done all they can. If you provide information or a service, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have done all that you reasonably can.
In case you are worrying too much about this, the cost to you will be taken into account as against your resources/your ability to pay.
Basically, if you do not comply, you are likely to be in breach-our recommendation is to speak to your web designer (or to one via us, as we know those who have particular sensitivity and ability in the area of disabled access) and ensure you are covered. Check the obligations with us.
Contact Cousins Business Law for advice on this topic.
Note: With effect from 1st October 2010, the DDA was largely superseded by the Equality Act 2010.
Article added before March 2008 © Cousins Business Law
This article is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.
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