International Accessibility Legislation

December 3, 2006

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Topics: Accessibility, Law.

Courtesy of Kim Krause Berg, a great summary of accessibility policies by country. A big deal is frequently made of Section 508, the United States accessibility guidelines, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 1.0, and the accessibility rules set by the UK: The Disability Discrimination Act. But what if your primary audience is in Belgium? Even though very, very few countries currently provide laws requiring accessibility for privately owned commercial sites, it’s always a possibility that this could happen: it’s a […]

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Is Legally Mandated Accessibility a Benefit?

September 18, 2006

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Topics: Accessibility, Law.

Although I’m an enthusiastic supporter of the principles of accessibility, the practical definition is challenging to really pin down. Given the widely criticized WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 and the sometimes questionable expectations of Section 508 accessibility guidelines, I’m have to wonder whether a legal accessibility requirement is really practical. The problem is, to a degree, in the fact that in order to enforceable, the law would have to be very precise about what constitutes "web accessibility". Since experienced […]

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European Union to Mandate Web Accessibility?

June 22, 2006

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Topics: Accessibility, Law, News.

From 456 Berea Street, Roger Johansson makes note of a EU declaration to "ensure that all public websites are accessible by 2010". This ministerial commitment is in fact quite broad in scope, including commitments to accessibility in the sense of access to an internet connection. The official press release states: Many Europeans still get too little benefit from information and communication technologies, and millions are at risk of being left behind. Enabling all Europeans to participate on equal terms in […]

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Ludicrous Ranking Lawsuits

June 7, 2006

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Topics: Law.

One of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen this year was the lawsuit by Kinderstart against Google. This lawsuit was brought against Google over "downgrading its search-result ranking without reason or warning." Essentially, Kinderstart claims that Google committed a breach of covenant with Kinderstart by reducing their search-result rankings, resulting in a severe reduction in revenues. The claim is, in my opinion, ludicrous. The idea that a search engine has a specific obligation to maintain a website’s position in its […]

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First Amendment Rights and Accessibility

February 23, 2006

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Topics: Accessibility, Law, Web Development.

The Washington Examiner, a local paper published in Washington DC and nearby areas, published an editorial on February 20th suggesting that legal enforcement of accessibility requirements for web sites may not be constitutional under the first amendment. The editorial quotes an unnamed Supreme Court decision: The choice of material to go into a newspaper, and the decisions made as to limitations on the size and content of the paper, and treatment of public issues and public officials — whether fair […]

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