ADA doesn't apply to the web?! (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 28 Sep 2004

ADA doesn't apply to the web?!

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to the web. In other words, web designers are not required to make their pages accessible to readers with disabilities.

That seems very odd. It's required of software -- several lawsuits have been filed (and settled) related to inaccessible software. Accessibility is required universally for web sites in the EU, and I thought it was required of US government sites as well. It's a shame the court felt that it wasn't important for web sites in general.

Accessibility helps everybody, not just people with disabilities (even setting aside the fact that most of us will eventually experience some impairment, if we live long enough). Accessible web sites are usually easier to read and navigate, and translate more easily to offline readers (such as Sitescooper) and PDA readers (such as Opera and Plucker).

The decision was "largely on procedural grounds" and the court suggested that the decision could be revisited in a future case. I hope that case comes soon, before US web designers conclude there's no point in designing for accessibility.

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

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[ 12:05 Sep 28, 2004    More programming | permalink to this entry ]