Web Publishers not required to comply?

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision from October 2002, which concluded that Web sites cannot be required to comply with the 1991 disabilities law. Southwest Airlines had been sued by an advocacy group for the blind, seeking redesign of its Web site.

There have been other documented cases that skirted the issues, but this is the first that addressed the question directly. Technically, the 11th Circuit only involves Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. But of course the issues are bigger than that.

Does this mean that accessible design is no longer an issue for web designers? Of course not. Hopefully, we do not need courts to tell us that there are millions or Internet users who have disabilities that require some type of intervention for them to use the Web conveniently. As a design community we hopefully are always concerned to reach all users when possible and the continued emphasis upon designing for accessibility just makes sense. It will continue to be one of the learning objectives in classes that I teach and curriculum I develop.

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