Accessibility of Websites to Disabled People

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – soon to be replaced under the laws of England and Wales by the Equality Act 2010 – deals with various situations whereby individuals with a disability are treated less favourably than able bodied individuals.

Since its inception the Act has had a significant impact in relation to the employment sector, but it is not simply limited to this. Accordingly the Act provides for the situation whereby a website is not accessible to individuals suffering with a disability.

What does the Disability Discrimination Act state?

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.

Furthermore 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.

What online services will be covered by the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act?

Any online services will be covered by the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. An example of this is when an airline company provides a flight reservation and booking service to members of the public on its company website.

This falls directly within the definition of the provision of a service and is therefore subject to the Disability Discrimination Act.

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For more information on:

  • What issues should I take into consideration when implementing my website?
  • Are there any guidelines which I can access which will ensure that I do not fall foul of the Act?
  • What is the WSC?
  • Where can I obtain it’s guidelines on accessibility?