[Irl-dean] False Accessibility Developers

Barry McMullin mcmullin at eeng.dcu.ie
Mon Mar 27 17:22:58 IST 2006

brendan spillane wrote:
> Recently I have come across cases where website developers are falsely
> claiming accessibility for the websites of some organisations.

I've certainly come across this problem; but would tend to agree
with Eoin's pointer to "Hanlon's Law" - quite a lot of the time
this is due to ignorance rather than malice on the part of the
contractor.  Of course, that is not to excuse it: such a
contractor is certainly not measuring up to reasonable
expectations of professional competence (not to mention ethics).

Ideally I would advise any client contracting out for web design,
with an accessibility requirement, to also contract for an
independent audit of the accessibility of the delivered product.
This is similar to contracting for, say, a building project,
where no client would dream of simply taking a building
contractor at their word that everything has been done according
to contract.  Instead they would employ an architect, quantity
surveyor etc. to validate what is delivered.  Of course this
means "top slicing" the project budget to allow for this audit;
but I can't see any way around that (except in the special case
that the client has a competent "in house" resource to do such

There is still the issue of how to identify a reliable
independent "auditor"; unlike in the building contract analogy,
there is no simple professional qualification one can look for.
I do know that NDA have been working on providing some general
advice on how to go about getting an accessibility audit
(obviously endorsing any particular suppliers).  So that may be a
very useful resource when it becomes available.

(In the interests of "full disclosure" I should add that I do -
occasionally - contract to do this sort of auditing work, so I do
have a clear vested interest in making the recommendation

Best - Barry.

More information about the CEUD-ICT mailing list