The Legal Value Of Accessibility

Introduction To The Legal Values

What Are The Legal Costs Of Accessibility?

In the past three decades there has been an important paradigm shift catalyzing the development of new legislation and policies concerning persons with disabilities (PWD), from segregation to integration, from institutionalization to mainstreaming, from the medical model of disability being viewed as a condition to be treated, to the social model of disability focusing on the removal of disabling barriers in the environment that hinder full participation in society.

Medical Model: A disability is a health condition dealt with by medical professionals and in need of being fixed or cured. People with disability are thought to be abnormal and a problem of the individual. From this point of view, disability is a tragedy and people with disability are to be pitied. The medical model of disability is all about what a person cannot do and cannot be.
Social Model: A social model perspective does not deny the reality of impairment nor its impact on the individual, but rather it challenges the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment to accommodate impairments as an expected incident of human diversity. The social model sees disability is the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers. It therefore carries the implication that the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment must change to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal basis with others.

Governments around the world are legislating Digital Accessibility Laws, as technology alters the way we interact with the world around us, and users increasingly desire flexibility that allows a wide diversity of user devices, and a responsive interface that customizes the style and format for their environment. This trend increasingly exposes organizations to the threat and cost of litigation, public relations issues, and loss of government contracts.

The Electronic Curb Cuts

Digital accessibility is the digital equivalent of the wheelchair ramp for sidewalks. The provision of digital access is often termed the
Electronic Curb Cut.
The need of the person in a wheelchair to be able to navigate efficiently, is the same at that moment as the need of the mother pushing a baby in a pram, a person pulling a suitcase or a delivery man with a cartload of products. The design improvements made to allow for the curb cut for wheelchair users benefits many others at the same time. Inventions like the typewriter, telephone and optical scanning were designed to meet a human need, but are now mainstream technologies enjoyed by all people. these inventions benefit many people and have long been considered mainstream technology in turn leading to newer innovations. Human Centred Design is the core principle for full inclusion and business success.
An Innovation Historical Perspective

Accessibility Laws Around the World

Some Legal Accessibility Resources