[thelist] US Judge rules that ADA applies to websites

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Mon Sep 11 18:00:24 CDT 2006


On 9/11/06, Judah McAuley <judah at wiredotter.com> wrote:
> The ADA was originally passed with the understanding that it was going
> to cost money to do things the right way, but that it was worth it.

This is the sort of thing I would like to see with web accessibility
regulations: legislation being passed, not court cases being won.
Surely when the ADA was passed, there was a deadline established which
gave businesses time to become compliant.

> I am guessing that the typical cost of redoing a website for ADA
> compliance will be significantly less than the costs associated with
> compliance for physical buildings.

Probably, but there are going to be a lot of things that will simply
have to be removed from websites until we can figure out a way to do
them in an accessible manner. What used to be innovation will now be a

> And, of course, the ADA preceded the
> advent of most companies websites, so I don't have much sympathy for
> those that chose to ignore the potential liability and not plan for the
> future.

Certainly. And it has been clear for *years* now, at least as long as
thelist has been around (because I remember very early threads about
this) that current governement web site requiremend would creep into
the private sector.

> This one ruling may not require every public business website in the US
> to rewrite their site immediately to be Section 508 compliant, but I
> think it's a well deserved wake up call to Corporate America.

Absolutely. I consult with public sector and have had to keep
accessibility in mind. There is significant R&D we must do when coming
out with innovative applications, because no one has *really* figured
out all the things one must do to make ajax/dom accessible, for
example (there has been work on screen readers, but it reaches must

> Accessibility is going from an optional "feel good" design decision to
> something that has real impact on the bottom line. I think that's a very
> good thing and represents an opportunity for us, as designers and
> developers, to explain how to make good, responsible, forward looking
> decisions. That benefits everyone, in my opinion.

You mean it represents an opportunity for us to cash in on the wave of
fear companies will undergo until this is clarified... which is why I
would prefer this be done by additional legislation so that it is
clear and allows a grace period to become compliant.

Matt Warden
Cleveland, OH, USA

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