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Web Accessibility: Equal Access is Required by Law

Posted by Vicki Taylor on Friday 8th May, 2009

On March 29, 2009, the Australian Human Rights Commission released version 3.3.1 of the World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes. These notes are an easy-to-read guide to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) as it relates to World Wide Web content.

The notes aim to make it easier for organisations and people who build and edit websites to understand how to comply with the DDA, and explain what an accessible web site is, as well as discussing some of the issues. They are an excellent starting place for those seeking to understand their web accessibility compliance obligations.

One thing these notes do make clear is that:

Equal access for people with a disability in this area is required by the DDA where it can reasonably be provided. This requirement applies to any individual or organisation developing a Worldwide Web page in Australia, or placing or maintaining a Web page on an Australian server.

It can’t get much clearer than that: all Australian websites must provide equal access unless there’s a really good reason why they shouldn’t. (Note that “equal access” does not mean the provision of an equivalent experience, but refers to access to content.)