The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information









National disability groups file brief in support of web access

Nov. 4, 2003 -- Ten national disability rights groups are filing a friend-of-the-court brief today in Miami urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to ensure that the World Wide Web is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Last October U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz in Miami, Florida ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to the on-line services of Southwest Airlines. "To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards," wrote Judge Seitz in her ruling.

The groups filing the brief are asking the three-judge appellate panel to overrule the Seitz ruling. Websites can be made accessible with very little expense and without compromising creative design, say the groups in their brief. "Making the Web accessible to people with disabilities is not difficult, and includes such things as designing and generating web pages so that information is available to a wide range of people, including those who may be unable to hear audible content; who may be unable to use a mouse because of a physical impairment; or who access the Web using software that reads the content of a web page out loud to persons who cannot see the screen content."

The case, Access Now v. Southwest Airlines., will be argued in the Court of Appeals on November 6 in Miami.

Read the brief online

The Americans with Disabilities Act does cover the Internet, says the National Council on Disability. Read NCD Report.

Fewer than half of federal and state websites meet World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards on web access. Read Taubman Center report

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Section 508

EXPERTS IN web access:

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access formed the Information Technology Technical Assistance & Training Center to promote the development of accessible electronic & information technology. Reach them at 1-866-948-8282 (Voice/TTY) or by email at

Judy Brewer
Director of the World Wide Web Consortium
Web Access Initiative

Brewer's group develops web guidelines, conducts education and outreach on Web-accessibility solutions.

Kate Vanderheiden
Trace Research and Development Center
at the University of Wisconsin/Madison

Pam Gregory
Disabilities Issues Task Force
Federal Communications Commission
202/418-2498 or 202/418-1169 (TTY)



The following sites contain information that may be of interest. Please bear in mind that the information at these sites is not controlled by the Center for An Accessible society. Links to these sites do not imply that the Center supports either the organizations or the views presented.
One of the best overviews of the issue of web access we've found is the article "Locking Out the Disabled," from PC World magazine's September, 2000 issue. Lots of good links, too.

Learn how Georgia Tech's Center for Rehabilitation Technology's site was made accessible at

Judith M. Dixon, Ph.D., Consumer Relations Officer for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has written "Levelling The Road Ahead," a set of "Guidelines For The Creation Of WWW Pages Accessible To Blind And Visually Handicapped Users" -- online at

A rather comprehensive set of links for accessible website authoring can be found at

All of Camera Obscura's index of academic and scholarly resources are either easily navigatable with speech or have been extensively re-indexed so that the information they contain is easily and immediately accessible via speech-synthesis and/or text-based access. This document also contains speech-friendly submission forms for many standard reference works, as well as telephone and address directories and resources which are easily navigated using speech-synthesis and a text-based browser.

"Designing a More Usable World for All," from the Trace Center

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Fact Sheet for "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0"

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guideline Checkpoints

"Advocates of People With Disabilities Take Online Stores to Task" from the Jan. 1. New York Times

Story about new guidelines from The Associated Press.

The Digital Divide and People with Disabilities

Quick tips on making websites accessible from the Web Access Initiative







Expert sources

The Digital Divide

Section 508

The Web Access Initiative


About The Center for An Accessible Society