That’s according to Robin Christopher of AbilityNet, who is speaking on accessibility here at FOWA. He is referring to UK legislation that is 8 years old, requiring web sites to meet certain accessibility standards. The bonus for developers is that accessible web sites are also generally better for all users, not just those with disabilities – Christopher quotes a 35% improvement, though I’m not sure how you measure ease of use in percentages.
Why don’t developers make their sites accessible? The problem I suspect is two-fold. First, lack of resources; many sites are thrown up quickly and it seems that some developers don’t go beyond testing that it looks kind of OK in Internet Explorer. Second, a lot depends on what the standard tools and libraries produce by default. I know Adobe has done significant work on this in Dreamweaver and in Flash. Is a typical WordPress blog accessible? A good question for Matt Mullenweg, whom I will be meeting shortly.