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Re: Accessibility as a legal requirement in the UK/Europe

From: Isofarro <w3evangelism@faqportal.uklinux.net>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 14:36:47 +0200
Message-ID: <006001c2b649$72c0c8e0$6831f7c2@laptop>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

From: "Julian Voelcker" <asp@tvw.net>


> For some time now I have been trying to preach the accessibility route
> to clients, however the main questions that I seem to get back are (1)
> what standards should we adhere to, W3C's, Section 508 or a subset and
> (2)when is it likely to be a legal requirement.

While I'm perusing John's suggested links, here's a WAI page that covers UK
legislation:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/#UK
And the EU one:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/#EU

The standards I prefer to follow are: XHTML1.0 Strict, CSS and WCAG. I know
Joe Clark believes that full HTML validity isn't strictly necessary for good
accessibility, but that speech browser testing will lead to more practical
results (I hope I've got his POV correctly).

I am not a lawyer. For the UK Disability Discrimination Act, the first test
case is expected 1st October 2004, and I have seen interpretations that
Priority 1 and Priority 2 compliancy is expected to be sufficient (
http://www.ie.com/newspress/newspress_coverage_release.jsp?id=161&year=2002 
) -- this is one interpretation of the DDA, I haven't come across any others
yet, but I'm keeping an eye on them (
http://www.isolani.co.uk/blog/access.html - one of my blogs keeping track of
UK-oriented accessibility news).

> The first question is difficult to answer until the laws are in place,

The Disability Discrimination Act has been in place since 1996. There were
amendments last year which (I believe) included websites into their scope.
So technically they are already in place, just not been tested in a court
case yet.

> The second question is even harder to answer - the big problem I have
> is trying to keep up to date with what is going on with the legal side
> of things.

That's primary my reason for blogging it as and when I can. The tricky thing
is separating the wheat from the chaff (such as the conception that (US) ADA
only applies to government websites which I still believe is a perpetuated
myth caused by confusion with (US) Section 508 of the Telecommunications
Act)

> I believe that there are proposals going through Europe relating to
> accessibility and websites and also that the UK Government is wanting
> government related sites to be fully accessible by a set date (2006?),
> However this is all based on odd snippets/rumours of info that I have
> picked up rather than hard facts or authoritative speculation.

Not something I've seen cemented yet, but possibly because the DDA is more
pressing a concern at the moment -- so my position is based out of ignorance
of EU at the moment. You'll probably get more sensible information starting
from the W3 link above.


Mike.
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 09:38:46 GMT

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