Is Website Accessibility a Legal Requirement? accessiBe Explains

posted by Chris Valentine

Website accessibility has been a hot topic in legal circles in recent years, especially in countries like the United States and certain members of the European Union. You have to put the time and effort into understanding the specific rules around this if you’re running a website of your own. This is especially true if you’re planning to run that site for any commercial reasons. You have to be prepared for any issues that may arise on that front. It’s not just about being inclusive and making your site usable for as many people as possible; you have to protect yourself against possible legal attacks as well. 

Location Matters

The most important factor in determining how far you’ll have to go with optimizing your site for accessibility purposes is where you’re located. The European Union tends to have more relaxed rules regarding this, for example. On the other hand, the United States has seen a large number of lawsuits about accessibility issues with websites and apps in recent years. You have to think about your target audience as well. If your site is accessible in certain countries, you may be required to adapt it to their specific regulations for accessibility.

The Rules Are Different for Public Bodies

Another major factor that makes a difference is whether your site is run by a public organization or not. In most cases, this refers to government organizations and similar institutions. The European Union is particularly clear about this, as its member states only enforce accessibility requirements for such sites. However, the definition of ‘public’ has been challenged in some places in recent years. As we mentioned above, the United States is the most notable current example of this. The same rules may also apply to you if you’re running a site for certain types of non-government organizations.

The Debate Continues

The fact that the number of lawsuits over website accessibility issues in the United States has kept increasing in recent years should speak volumes about the current state of the situation. Things are far from clear-cut, and decisions can swing both ways depending on specific factors. That’s why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding your specific type of website and location. This is also something you must keep yourself up to date on in the long run. Check out accessiBe for a reliable partner for information on this topic. The rules tend to change over time and this is a very dynamic area with lots of active developments, making it important to pay attention to the news.

If you do it right, though, you’re helping a significant portion of the population to have a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience with your services. Regardless of what you’re doing and what sector you’re involved in, this is something you shouldn’t underestimate. The importance of getting it right is only going to grow stronger in the near future, too. Make sure you’re one step ahead of those developments and keep yourself informed about what you need to be doing to stay compliant.

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