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Re: Interpretation of UK accessibility law?


From: Murphy, Sean
Date: Feb 4, 2020 3:45PM

The other point I would be stressing is if the a11y was done now, you are saving money and resources if it was done later.

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Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Interpretation of UK accessibility law?

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Thanks for the responses so far.

For additional context, this was prompted by a conversation about drag-and-drop reordering within a new section of an admin interface, and the fact that implementing it in the traditional manner would make it inaccessible to keyboard users. Having researched the topic, and finding that doing it properly would take some time, I recommended de-prioritising the reordering feature until we could come up with a solution that would work for all users. However, the response I got was a suggestion that we should make it work for the majority first, acknowledge it as inaccessible to keyboard users in the Accessibility Statement (I'm assuming that bit to give the benefit of the doubt), and then "fix" it later.

I confess the red mist descended at that point, since that's been the attitude informing our MO for the past 15 years, and what I've been fighting against for the past 4, specifically with regards to a11y.

Having read the regulations, along with the advice on gov.uk, as a new feature - i.e. post Sep 2019 - my understanding is that it must be accessible at launch. It would be difficult to justify "disproportionate burden" given that a perfectly serviceable solution (namely "move up" / "move down" controls next to each item) could be implemented that would be equally infuriating to all users, albeit perceivable, operable and robust. The issue with that suggestion appeared to be that the user experience of the majority would be negatively impacted for the sake of making it work for everyone. Insert facepalm emoji here.

I understand that managers tasked with overseeing delivery of a product need to be pragmatic, and steer resource towards optimising quality within deadlines, but I suppose the concern I have - and what prompted this question - is that having stated we'd be "breaking the law" if we released a new feature knowing full well it was inaccessible beforehand, perhaps things aren't as clear-cut in terms of the law, and I've inadvertently misrepresented the facts.

Either way, thanks again for the responses, and especially for the excellent resources on abilitynet - I watched November's webinar, and February is already in the calendar - as is JISC's drop-in clinic [https://www.jisc.ac.uk/training/accessibility-drop-in-clinic] tomorrow 😉


Allan A Beattie
Senior Web Developer

Digital & Information Services | The University of Aberdeen
t: +44 (0)1224 27 4486

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.
Tha Oilthigh Obar Dheathain na charthannas clàraichte ann an Alba, Àir. SC013683.