Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Accessibility of internal apps and intranets

I was reading a web development book last night that rehashed the widely-believed fiction that an inaccessible web page is excusable because it’s only for internal use.

Saying accessibility doesn’t matter on internal-facing pages or intranets is simply a way of saying that your company has a discriminatory recruitment policy. You’re saying that your company doesn’t and won’t have disabled workers.

I am not a lawyer, but I know some. In the UK, employers have a duty under sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Disability Discrimination Act not to treat their employees badly because of their disability.

Other nations with civilised anti-discrimination legislation have similar laws.

Last year, the average tribunal award for disability discrimination in the UK was £52,087, compared with an average of £18,584 for race discriminaion, and £19,499 for sex discrimination (source: Daily Telegraph).

2 Responses to “ Accessibility of internal apps and intranets ”

Comment by Ryan Benson

I have heard a slew of answers to this, everything from “we don’t have any blind people, so our system is fine” to “The internal app only runs on IE6, while there is a new version out, it is too much to upgrade IE.”

Where I currently work, we have this group of people that makes standards for our external site, they have slim-to-no interest in making standards for our internal stuff. I am given replies like “yeah, we know, we’ll get to it soon.”

Comment by Denis Boudreau

I’m confronted to the same arguments on a weekly basis and I fight them off using the same logic. Working with government agencies in the context of mandatory accessibility standards exposes me to those discussions more often than I’d care to admit. Most people stop short when you present this to them in this way.

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