Weblogs: Web Accessibility

Accessibility in the News: September 2004

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The major stories this month are Athens' preparation for the Paralympic Games, and the US Presidential election. Odeon "accessibility" slated. Jarek Molski and his legal crusade (or is it just money?). ADA still short of applying to websites. DDA section 21 of Part 3 (adjustments to physical premises) comes into force.

According to its mayor, Athens have transformed 3000 year old city into a good example of an accessible city inside of three years - without degrading their famous architectures and buildings. According to wheelchair users, Athens still has a long way to go.

With the US Presidential election less than a month away, the online press has been investigating the accessibility of voting booths. The story seems to have shied away from the Diebold electronic voting systems and focused heavily on getting physical premises accessible in time for November 2. Where premises cannot be made accessible, other already accessible premises are being used instead.

Odeon cinemas have been roundly slated for their mediocre display of accessibility - months after it forced the closure of an accessible interface to its site done by an independent web developer Matthew Somerville. The Odeon may make a nice test case for web accessibility.

On a contraversial note, Jarek Molski is becoming infamous as a paraplegic suing businesses up and down the Californian coast (over 250 lawsuits so far). Roy's Burgers has been forced to close under the cost of the legal suit. Whereas it may have been able to make the $10,000 worth of reparations to its restaurant, but decided not to. This highlights the lesson that accessibility can be very expensive when it has to be forced through a court of law.

ADA took no further steps towards embracing the web. The appeal against the original SouthWest Airlines misruling was dismissed on procedural grounds. On a positive note, SouthWest Airlines have made adjustments to their website to remove the barriers that started this legal suit.

Section 21 of Part III of the UK Disability Discrimination Act goes into force on October 1st. The online media articles have so far been level-headed, speaking out against the scare-mongering of the DDA wanting to close down businesses. The Free2Pee campaign is one of the highlights of the month, with wheelchair users slapping red "Busted" stickers on lavatories that aren't wheelchair accessible or friendly.



Real world accessibility


Hardware and Software

UK Disability Discrimination Act

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