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Also posted on: Accessibility
In March this year http://www.out-law.com/page-8539). This means that the scope and the intent of the law is much clearer and this should make it much easier for accessibility advocates to press their case in the future. Hence my three cheers for Target! The case will now go forward as a class action so the total damages may be substantial.
The messages to all e-commerce sites owners should now be clear:
- The laws on accessibility apply to your site.
- You would be brave, or more correctly foolhardy, to try and claim some special exemption, as you are likely to fail.
- The law is now clear and public so the courts will not be sympathetic to the plea ‘I did not think it applied to my site’ or even worse ‘I did not know about the law’.
So how should e-commerce owners react?:
- Do not panic.
- Recognise that the principles apply to you even if you are not based, or market, in the US because most other jurisdictions now have relevant laws in this area
- Arrange an initial assessment of your sites to understand the size and scope of any problems. It is possible they may be small.
- Increase your awareness of accessibility and the related usability benefits. One simple way is to read my previous, and future, articles and blogs.
- Build accessibility into your requirements definition process.
- Create a realistic plan to move towards accessibility.
If you are seen to be actively working on accessibility neither the courts nor the accessibility advocates will wish to take action against you. They understand that moving to accessibility takes time and must be done in a cost effective and realistic fashion. They also recognise that there are other enterprises that they should chase as they are still not taking the issue seriously and need to be prodded to conform.