Working with the National Council for Blind in Ireland and accessibility expert Joshue O Connor at InterAccess, here at Datalex we have been busy enhancing our accessibility offering. As the December website accessibility compliance deadline approaches many airlines are still asking what it means and how they will be impacted. As procurers of accessible technologies, airlines want clear answers, “Is this accessible?”, “Will this satisfy the US DOT/WCAG?”
Airlines are nervous and unsure of what to expect. Many expect instant litigation from disability groups descending with lawsuits in hand at the smallest infringement of ‘accessibility law’. By and large, this won’t happen and is contrary to the ‘spirit of accessibility’.
Why? Because while legislative drivers are important, they are not absolute. People with disabilities ultimately just want a level playing field, and for those who try to make that happen there is a strong case for the defence.
The answer is that no one really knows how the US Department of Transport (DOT) will react.
One thing is clear: accessibility should be seen as an opportunity to increase your client base. At Datalex we understand the positive impact that removing barriers online has on the lives of customers with disabilities, and we have been proactive in anticipating the US DOT deadline.
Regulations and compliance standards (set out by the Air Carrier Access Act and US DOT) point to WCAG 2.0 success criteria as a means to level the accessible playing field between carriers. The real message - enabling people regardless of ability to have equivalent access - can get lost in these regulations and rules.
At Datalex we strive to provide practical accessible solutions for all. Practical accessibility creates positive, usable and more profitable experiences for airlines and your customers.
As leading accessibility expert Joshue O Connor states, “Datalex’s commitment should be commended as an example of how a company positively engages with the accessibility community.”
The question is ultimately ‘has due diligence been done?’ While there will likely be some litigious opportunism, where it can be demonstrated that genuine efforts to improve accessibility have been undertaken, that will positively tip the scales for any airline worried about their position after December.
Joshue O Connor
Founder at InterAccess - Accessible UX
Product Architect at Datalex