Does the law require me to make my site accessible? Yes. If someone with a disability, such as sight loss, can’t access the information on your website then it could be seen as discrimination.
The Equality Act came into force in October 2010, replacing the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in England, Scotland and Wales. Like the DDA, the Equality Act was introduced with the intention of comprehensively tackling the discrimination which many disabled people face.
The Act is ‘anticipatory’, which means you cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use your services. You must think in advance (on an ongoing basis) about what disabled people with a range of impairments (sight loss, hearing loss, mobility and cognitive impairments) might reasonably need.
For instance, it may be unlawful for a website to:
- have links on that are not accessible to a screen reader
- have application forms (for instance, for bank accounts or job application forms) in a PDF format that cannot be read by a screen reader
- have core service information (for instance, timetables on a public transport website) that is not in a format accessible to screen readers.
- use text, colour contrasting and formatting that make the website inaccessible to a partially sighted service user
- change security procedures (for instance, on an e-commerce website) without considering the impact of blind and partially sighted customers that use screen readers.