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Accessibility and How it Affects You

As the owner of a website, you now have a legal obligation – following the implementation of section 21 of the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 – to make reasonable adjustments to ensure blind and partially sighted people can access your service.

A disabled person can make a claim against you if your website makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult to access information and services. If you have not made reasonable adjustments and cannot show that this failure is justified, then you may be liable under the Act, and may have to pay compensation and be ordered by a court to change your site.

The Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 (chapter 50) can be downloaded in its entirety here

Part III of the DDA (Disablity Discrimination Act) refers to the provision of goods, facilities and services – and the Code of Practice 1, specifically mentions websites. However, the relevant sections from the 175-page Code of Practice are as follows:

  • 2.2 (p7): “The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.”
  • 4.7 (p39): “From 1st October 1999 a service provider has to take reasonable steps to change a practice which makes it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its services.”
  • 2.13 – 2.17 (p11-13): “What services are affected by the Disability Discrimination Act? An airline company provides a flight reservation and booking service to the public on its website. This is a provision of a service and is subject to the act.”
  • 5.23 (p71): “For people with visual impairments, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include … accessible websites.”
  • 5.26 (p68): “For people with hearing disabilities, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include … accessible websites.”