Accessibility Law in Australia presentation

Some people who listen to podcast or read the transcript (both available soon) of my presentation on Accessibility Law in Australia to the Perth Web Standards Group may think I was downplaying the importance of accessibility law (the Disability Discrimination Act 1992) in Australia. That was not my intention, what I wanted to do was reflect the current situation.

Very few people make complaints about website accessibility in Australia. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission provide information on the complaints they deal with, and in the past six years since Maquire vs. SOCOG, HREOC indicated there has only been three complaints. All three were from people with visual impairments trying to access information that was significant to them. Most importantly all three were resolved to the satisfaction of the person lodging the complaint. Given the number of Australians with disabilities accessing the web and the number of inaccessible Australian websites, this number is very low.

So my advice for avoiding complaints about website accessibility in Australia is:

  1. Build the most accessible website you can with the resources available;
  2. Make sure the website works in a screen reader; you can get a demo version of JAWS to run on a USB stick.
  3. Make sure if anybody has queries or problems about the website’s accessibility, be they clients, website visitors or anybody else. The can easily contact your “accessibility person”. A person in your organisation with great communication skills, who can identify what the problem is and arrange a solution.

The presentation slides are available, but without the podcast or transcript, they will little sense as they are just visual cues.

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