Weblogs: Web Accessibility

Accessibility in the News: March 2006

Sunday, April 02, 2006

March 2006 saw the release of the DRC commissioned PAS 78 document which guides businesses in the creation of accessible websites. This document is a major step forward in bridging the gap between Disability Discrimination legislation and the World Wide Web, and leaves absolutely no doubt that the DDA is intended to cover websites. Businesses commissioning websites a strongly encouraged to use PAS 78 in their processes, which will help them deliver an accessible website. The case studies presented by Tesco and Legal & General solidly conclude there is a substantial return on investment in building accessible web services.

Copies of PAS 78 (priced at £30 - excluding VAT) are available from BSI's Customer Service team on +44 (0)20 8996 9001 or orders@bsi-global.com.

Legal suits in the United States flare up again, notably Diebold. Their voting machines are taking a battering with a steady stream of complaints and actions. Kmart settled the biggest ADA complaint to date, forking out an estimated $13 million in compensation and store upgrades. As part of the settlement KMart are being creative in their choice of accessibility solution, which is refreshing.

Microsoft continues to receive a barrage of criticism over its offensive against Massachusetts state in light of playing the disabilities card in the Open Document Format selection. It turns out that independent software vendors are the main reason Microsoft Office is accessible in assistive technology - and this seems to be despite Microsoft's support. Moreover, Office 12 supposedly offers new help functionality that relies on mouse hovers - a known accessibility barrier.

There's a substantial amount of attention directed at the accessibility of UK Local government websites this month, mostly critical. The levels are far better than they were two years ago, but still fall short of reasonable expectations. Part of the problem are league tables - they prevent a proper and necessary focus on web accessibility.


Publicly Available Specification - PAS 78

Hardware and Software

Legal - US and Canada

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