The dangers of legislation
In the U.S. more complaints can be heard regarding inaccessibility, parallel to the increase of legislation concerning accessibility in the EU. At Funka we have always been fairly skeptical of legislation, which feels like the right thing, seeing that a real scandal is about to be uncovered.
Susanna LaurinTitle: Chief Research and Innovation Officer
The great country in the west has long been regarded as an accessibility paragon and a role model of human rights for persons with disabilities. A great many of Scandinavian graduates with motor impairments have chosen to study in the U.S., because of the high level of accessibility at the universities.
In a European perspective, the U.S. also seem to have a well functioning market place, for everything from assistive technology to consultants. Not perfect, but in some ways more developed than our own. This is all well and good.
The judicial system makes for a situation where some website owners are more motivated by a wish to not get sued, rather than actually doing good for persons with disabilities. As a cherry on top, during this winter an acrid debate has taken place, where the main focus is that lawyers who take on accessibility cases, use the legal frameworks as a tool to scare website owners into settling out of court. That the interface doesn’t work for everyone is often forgotten. As soon as the lawyers gets what they came for, they leave the website, and its users, swinging in the wind.
Since ensuring compliance with legislation is not Funka’s main focus, it is difficult for us to understand the details. But if the only result of these lawsuits is to enrich lawyers as the websites keep being inaccessible, then something is very wrong.
Thanks to Debra Ruh who wrote an excellent blog post after our conversation on the topic:
A few older links:
Related chronicles by Susanna Laurin
7 February 2019
Funka's CEO Susanna Laurin reports from a debate in the European Parliament and international standardization that deals with the inclusion of elderly in IT development.
6 March 2017
We are always interested in what is going on in our market. When two conferences on accessibility, gaming and assistive technology happens in the same week, the agenda is filling up.
17 June 2016
The French association for the visually impaired, BrailleNet, arrange an annual conference on digital accessibility. The theme for the 2016 edition was the internet of things. Funka’s own Susanna Laurin is reporting from the conference.
11 September 2015
Funka’s CEO Susanna Laurin reflects on cultural differences between Spain and Sweden, personal integrity and how badly things can get, even when you try your hardest to do the right thing.