[Linux-aus] Browser/OS checks - smarthinking.com

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Tue Aug 28 12:48:45 EST 2012

On Tue, 28 Aug 2012, Nathan Bailey <nathan.bailey at monash.edu> wrote:
> I'm not sure I understand this statement? The accessibility guidelines
> apply to all organisations, regardless of their audience. Universities
> are particularly exposed because they typically have a very broad user
> base, inclusive of many learning difficulties (vision impairment - but
> also dyslexia [not strictly a legal accessibility issue]). The most
> prominent case in accessibility law is an Australian organisation -
> SOCOG (the Sydney Olympic Games).


# Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability


# Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability

Unless the Australian government has some different definition to the US 
government (which seems very unlikely) then Dyslexia should be covered by the 
Disabilities Act 1992.


Section 4 of the above explanation of the Disabilities Act (with recent 
amendments) says:

# disability, in relation to a person, means:
# (a)  total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
# (f)  a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning
# differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
# (g)  a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought
# processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in
# disturbed behaviour;

Dyslexia is clearly covered.

> I'm not sure how accessibility applies to browser specificity (ie. if
> they can respond "It is accessible for platform X"). You could check
> with Gian Wild (accessibilityoz.com.au) who is an Aussie expert on
> this stuff.

If people with a particular disability have to buy a new tablet but other 
people don't then that is a form of discrimination.  Now if the university was 
to buy a new computer for every web site visitor who has a problem then it 
might be a different matter.


The section on "Unjustifiable hardship" in the above includes:
# (c)  the financial circumstances, and the estimated amount of expenditure
# required to be made, by the first person;
# (d)  the availability of financial and other assistance to the first person;

On Tue, 28 Aug 2012, Adam Nielsen <a.nielsen at shikadi.net> wrote:
> Well don't get me wrong, most universities do make quite a bit of effort
> to  ensure their 'public' pages are accessible to as wide an audience as
> possible. But there's generally no requirement for them to do this, they
> have just decided that it would be a good thing.  So the argument "but you
> have to" won't really work, because they don't have to.  And if you go
> down the anti-discrimination route, you may find they just print you a
> hard copy or supply the content to you in some other fashion, which meets
> their legal requirements but somewhat defeats the goal of getting the
> IE-only restriction lifted.


The section on "Direct disability discrimination" includes:
# (2)  For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) also
# discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of
# a disability of the aggrieved person if:
# (a)  the discriminator does not make, or proposes not to make, reasonable
# adjustments for the person; and
# (b)  the failure to make the reasonable adjustments has, or would have, the
# effect that the aggrieved person is, because of the disability, treated less
# favourably than a person without the disability would be treated in
# circumstances that are not materially different.

It also says:

# reasonable adjustment: an adjustment to be made by a person is a reasonable
# adjustment unless making the adjustment would impose an unjustifiable
# hardship on the person.

Having a web server work with multiple browsers is obviously a reasonable 
adjustment given that the vast majority of web developers do it anyway for 
best standards conformance and to get more market share.

Printine and posting web pages isn't a "reasonable adjustment".  Doing that 
requires extra effort on the part of the reader and results in outdated 
information.  Also it may not even work, for example if a visually impaired 
person uses a huge monitor then printing the web page on A4 paper isn't going 
to work at all.

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