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FW: [techlunch] Website owners face prosecution

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 14:00:07 -0500
Message-ID: <B3DC65CD2AA7EF449E554548C6FE1111E0AA41@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: Sharron Rush [mailto:srush@knowbility.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 1:58 pm
To: techlunch@smartgroups.com
Subject: [techlunch] Website owners face prosecution


** Website owners face prosecution **
RNIB takes action over websites which fail to comply with new laws on
ease of use for people with disabilities. <
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/england/norfolk/3117050.stm >

Andrew Sinclair
BBC Look East reporter

Ensuring web sites are easy for disabled people to use is no longer an
option - it is a legal obligation. The Royal National Institute of the
Blind in Peterborough is warning that anyone running a site faces
prosecution if they fail to comply with the law.

Mark Smith is blind and a great fan of the internet. Using voice
recognition software he spends hours surfing the net. Many of the sites
he showed me were easy to navigate but not all of them. When we find a
site for a well known tourist attraction in Norfolk there are graphics
and pop-up windows.

"It can be quite confusing," Mark said.

"Often there can be difficulties with graphics on the screen, sometimes
there aren't always text labels and sometimes websites are so large you
spend some time having to manipulate your speech programme to find the
information you need."

  Adapted keyboards which allow people to use Braille when they type and
special software to enlarge the screen allows access to a world of
information.

"It's quite exciting because we can get much more of what we need when
we need it, " says Richard West, of the Norfolk and Norwich Association
for the Blind.

"But now we've got to learn how to manage all the information that's
available."

Under new legislation websites must be easy for disabled people to
navigate.

 From their offices in Peterborough Julie Howell of the Royal National
Institute of the Blind has begun to prosecute organizations whose sites
fall short.  "Companies would be really wise to think about this now,"
she said. "Opening up a website to more people shouldn't mean stifling
creativity - it should bring firms so much more business."

"A lot of companies haven't done anything about it yet. You can't avoid
this. It is the law and it's enforceable," said Peter Ballard, of
Foolproof, a company in Norwich which advises companies on web page
design. He said ensuring a site is disabled user-friendly is not as
daunting as it sounds.  Fancy graphics and flash technology are fine as
long as it can still be read by basic software.  The new legislation
applies anyone who runs a website - individuals or companies. There are
signs that some webmasters are beginning to get the message - but many
have not and the RNIB is planning to step up its prosecutions until all
websites are user-friendly.





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Received on Tuesday, 23 September 2003 15:00:33 GMT

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