Accessibility and Lawsuits

Statue of blindfolded woman holding scales, signifying justice is blindI just read an interesting article from The Wall Street Journal – Accessibility Claims Expected Over Websites.

It cites an agreement worked with with tax resource site H&R Block, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Justice Department.

The article also forecasts more accessibility claims coming out of increased enforcement of accessibility by the Justice Department.

Now, as I’ve vented about before, one must take the comments section of an online article with a giant grain of salt, since the vast majority of them are ill-informed, if not outright ignorant and offensive. Nonetheless, I found most of the comments on this article interesting.

There was a general sense from the posters that such enforcement is unreasonable to “average Joe” developers and will cost them lots of money and stretch their skills to make their web sites more accessible.

H&R Block logoDepending on the complexity of a web site, it certainly can be expensive to retroactively make a site accessible. But it’s also not an excuse to cry foul about accessibility enforcement and blame on “lawyers being lawyers.”

We’ll see what the months and years bring with this story, and what the Justice Department comes up with and enforces, but if it means greater seriousness about making web sites more usable for people with disabilities, then it sure feels like a potentially positive direction.

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