Do I need a DDA audit?
Many of our clients refer to the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) as a point of law that applies to their websites. This was true up until 2010 when it was replaced by the Equality Act, which provides the current legislation applying to websites in the UK.
The Equality Act 2010 expects that reasonable adjustments are made prior to a disabled person using the service, so in the case of a website, making accessibility changes only when it is requested leaves you open to someone taking a claim against you.
Do I need an accessibility audit?
If you have never had an accessibility audit conducted on your website then it’s a good idea to have it checked to see if it meets current published guidelines for accessibility. The most commonly referred to guidelines internationally are WCAG 2.0.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that other countries around the world also have laws governing the accessibility of software and web products, so ensuring that your website conforms to the guidelines is crucial if you are offering your products or services overseas.
Why do we use the WCAG 2.0 guidelines?
The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t specifically give a definition of web accessibility, nor what standard businesses should work towards. However, UK Government guidance states that they expect agency web content to be accessible to WCAG 2.0 which is also the accepted standard for most large private agencies in the UK and most of Europe. There are other accessibility guidelines including Section 508 in the United States of America, derivatives of WCAG 2.0 and mobile guidelines by the BBC, but essentially they are all based on WCAG 2.0.
Other benefits to accessible products
In addition to legal requirements, there is a financial incentive to make your products accessible. There are an estimated 11 million people living in the UK with a disability with an estimated spending power of £11.75 billion according to the Click away pound 2016 report.
Our current website is being built by a company that promises it will be accessible
That’s good news, however, our experience is that most development teams don’t have enough expertise to ensure that people with a wide range of disabilities are provided for. This often means that the finished project is only partially compliant. We’d advise having the site checked at the earliest convenience, just to make sure that it is on track.
Do any other accessibility laws affect me as a website provider in the UK?
In short, yes! The W3C have pulled together a table of Government policies linked to web accessibility. The table is sorted into countries, and whilst an excellent resource, is not a replacement for legal advice.
What should I do next?
Well, you could give us a call! 😊
You’ll find us really friendly and helpful, we want you to succeed and create a website that is usable by everyone. We want to get to know you, how you work and offer solutions that will work alongside what you already do.
Update to blog post September 2018 – WCAG 2.1
Please note that WCAG 2.0 has been updated and replaced with WCAG 2.1. The three levels remain the same, A, AA and AAA. Our blog post details the changes What is WCAG 2.1