Booking flights with Swiss International Airlines will become easier for passengers with disabilities. That’s because the airline made its website fully accessible to blind and visually impaired visitors and users with other physical limitations.
The company overhauled the core functions of its swiss.com website, including the booking and check-in features. One of the changes includes support of screen-reader software that allows users to have text read aloud to them as well as the ability to navigate the site more easily using keyboard entries.
The fully accessible part of the swiss.com website already meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. The entire site should conform to the WCAG 2.0 AA standard by the end of 2016, the company said.
Why is WCAG 2.0 AA Important?
WCAG 2.0 is a standard set by the World Wide Web Consortium aimed at making websites more accessible for people with disabilities. The United States Department of Justice was primed to propose WCAG 2.0 AA as the standard required to accommodate users of private/non-government websites, but the final rule under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act has been delayed until fiscal year 2018 at the earliest. Recent DOJ developments now bring into question this 2018 target.
While regulations are pending, there are still many reasons to create web accessible content including:
Lawsuits That Increase Due to Uncertainty
As Alexis Kramer states in the white paper, Lawsuits Mount Over Web Accessibility:
“Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §12182(a), prohibits discrimination in the full and equal enjoyment of public accommodations on the basis of disability. The statute defines a place of public accommodation as a facility whose operations affect commerce and that falls within at least one of 12 types of establishments.Title III doesn't specifically address access to websites. Courts are split on whether websites qualify as “places of public accommodation” under Title III.”
Therefore, lawsuits have been filed against site owners, claiming their sites lack adequate accessibility to people with disabilities.
Accessible Content Helps to Improve Lives
People with disabilities rely on the web. Accessible websites can afford them a certain independence and dignity and empower them to tackle everyday activities such as reading and learning, working, shopping, communicating with friends and family and simply being a community participant.
Accessibility Makes Good Business Sense
About 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability, totalling approximately 1 billion people. When making meaningful web content accessible to a wide range of users, you can maximize your audience reach and potentially connect with a massive, wider market.
Onix is also committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities and helping organizations create accessible web content. Its product Equidox converts PDF to HTML that conforms to the WCAG 2.0 AA standards. Over time the company will also make its main website more accessible implementing relevant portions of WCAG 2.0 AA. Onix’s current accessible website for the Equidox product can be at Equidox.co.