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Website disability access: countries and history

February 26, 2023
We have listed a number of countries, but not all, that have laws or regulations requiring websites to be accessible to people with disabilities.
United States
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that websites be accessible to people with disabilities, and the Department of Justice has issued guidance on web accessibility standards.

Canada
The Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, which includes web accessibility. Canadian regulations that specify web accessibility requirements are the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Accessible Canada Act (ACA).

European Union
The EU Web Accessibility Directive requires that public sector websites and mobile apps be accessible to people with disabilities.

Australia
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, including in the provision of goods and services online.

United Kingdom
The Equality Act 2010 requires that websites be accessible to people with disabilities, and the government has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as the standard for web accessibility.

In addition to national laws, some states and provinces within these countries may have their own laws or regulations on web accessibility. It`s important to consult with legal experts and accessibility professionals to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and guidelines.

For more web accessibility laws and regulations, visit this page of various countries and their respective legislation.

Online disability access milestones


The push for online disability access began gaining traction in the early 2000s, as the internet became more pervasive and the benefits of digital accessibility became clearer.

One key milestone was the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in various areas, including public accommodations. While the ADA did not explicitly address the internet, lawsuits in the late 1990s and early 2000s began to argue that the ADA applied to websites as well.

In 1999, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) was launched by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop guidelines for web accessibility, which became known, as previously mentioned, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines provided a framework for making websites more accessible to people with disabilities.

As the internet continued to evolve and more people began to rely on it for daily tasks, the importance of digital accessibility became more widely recognized. In addition, technological advances made it easier to create accessible websites and digital content.

Today, online disability access is seen as an essential component of digital inclusion and is increasingly being required by law. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all websites and digital content are fully accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information on web accessibility and how to make your website accessible, click here.

What are the new guidelines of WCAG 2.2? How can you ensure your website is still accessible and compliant with the new updates? What does EqualWeb cover from the WCAG 2.2 requirements and what it does not? What has changed from WCAG 2.2 and what remained the same? We compiled all the answers in the following article.

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From now on, users can access accessibility functions like Voice Navigation, Color Adjustments, and Image Descriptors, among others. The Fnac website is now more accessible for users with different types of disabilities, including seniors.

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Closed captions for videos and audio content enable people with hearing impairments to understand the content. EqualWeb has become the first web accessibility vendor to provide a video and audio closed captions option for people with disabilities as part of its automatic services.

The unique benefit of the function is that it’s entirely automatic. Moreover, as the website owner, you can modify the automatic generic text if you find a mismatch between the video and the text (the AI may miss a few words here and there), using the Captions Editor in your dashboard.

The closed captions function includes a simple on-and-off activation button, a rating vote for feedback purposes, a new transcription window over the video or audio element, and a captions download option. The captions’ font conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 standards for easily accessible fonts.

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