Website Legal Requirements 2 – Web Accessibility and the Disability Discrimination Act

5th October, 2009 in Website Policy 9 Comments

The second part of my Website Legal Requirements series, explains how the Disability Discrimination Act affects your website and what your website requires in order to conform.


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where member organizations, full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. They have developed a set of standards to ensure websites are built to best and common practices which also ensure people with disabilities can use and operate websites.

They have split the Web Accessibility Guidelines into three “checkpoints”.

  • Priority 1: A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
  • Priority 2: A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
  • Priority 3: A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

The UK Government and the RNIB both advise that your website must satisfy Priority 1 of guidelines and should satisfy Priority 2 guidelines. If the website is built to these guidelines then it allows people with disabilities to be able to use and operate your website. For example, a Screen Reader could be used to read out website content to a visually impaired user if the guidelines are followed.

The guidelines are not only for the web developer to take into account when building the site, but also need to be considered if content is added by other users using a content manager. For example, images added to the site should have the ALT attribute added to provide alternate text that a screen reader can read out. This is an example of one of the guidelines and with a content manager can easily be overlooked by the website administrator.

If you want to ensure your website conforms then contact your web developer for more information.

How Does This Affect My Website?

Your website should confirm to at least Priority 1 of the W3C Guidelines (or at least show that you have done all you can to adhere to it).

Sources & More Info:

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John 18th December, 2013 at 14:13 pm

Does an individual need to be registered with the Data Protection Act if they collect data in its simplest form e.g. first name an e-mail address, or can the adhere to the regulations without being registered? Thanks

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Laurence Cope 20th December, 2013 at 0:18 am

People should do, see here for more info and the self registration:

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Syanide 31st July, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Hi. I was just planning on a very simple 'holding' page to mention my services. I expect all of my business to come from external introductions. However, I have a "Contact me" page. I don't even know if my site has cookies, as I am using a free 'builder - Wix. In any event, I have no plans on using the 'cookies' as i would not know how to!!

But the "contact me" form will on;y be used to contact the people- I have no palns on doing anything else with that info. If they become clients, then i will get their separate authorisation for use of their data from the written form. Do i still need a simple 'paragraph' policy saying that in plain english?


Picture of Laurence Cope

Laurence Cope 31st July, 2016 at 13:41 pm

Hi Syanide

If you use Wix, then their website builder system may leave cookies on the site, perhaps they have their own tracking of users visiting their websites. Or if you use analytics there will be cookies. So you should find out what cookies are being used, and then make sure you have a cookie page that details these cookies, and how people can opt out.

With a contact form, you should then also create a Privacy Policy to state what you do with the data you collect, so people can see that you comply with data protection or how you use that data (do you keep it private, or will you pass it on to other companies? How will you use their data?). Its important to state this when people are giving you their details like phone numbers and email addresses.

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Laurence Cope 31st July, 2016 at 13:43 pm

Wix have a Cookie Popup facility in their system, so I would add that, see

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James Hartwell 31st July, 2018 at 8:43 am

What is the law / regulations on displaying images that a make up artist uses, for example images that they have made and look like horrific accidents. Do you have to warn the viewer that the images are very graphic and lifelike?

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Laurence 16th August, 2018 at 19:29 pm

Hi James
Oooh good one. I am going to pass on that. We're not legal experts here, but just try to point out the main legal requirements for websites. Although my articles are a bit old now and dont include GDPR!
So I would suggest for such specific questions source a legal provider about that. Although... I would of course recommend it whether its legal or not. Just for moral reasons I would protect images that are not for younger eyes behind a password or disclaimer with acceptance.

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Megan 22nd March, 2019 at 9:16 am

Hi, I was just wondering what exactly is Priority 1 with W3C and what does it actually require? I might just be missing something above but I cant find it

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Laurence 26th March, 2019 at 18:50 pm

Hi Megan, here are the points on the W3C website, you can see priority 1 here

What we do at Amity is instead of manually checking all this which would be a nightmare, we use software to check all pages and then highlight the non-compliance aspects so we can address them.

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