I spotted a couple of Twitters today from Mike Paciello of The Paciello Group. What he said probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, and probably wont when we look back in a year or even a couple of months time, but it was great to read none-the-less:
“In the past 2 months, TPG has seen a surge in US-based lawsuits filed against industry, federal, and state agencies.” Mike Paciello on Twitter, Friday November 21st, 2008
While I’m not saying it is nice to have to take anyone to court, it’s interesting to note this “surge” which I can only think is due to the class action brought by the National Federation of the Blind versus Target which reached a conclusion in August. Despite the ruling being a win for accessibility many criticised it as disappointing and not far reaching enough. This may be the case for some accessibility advocates but it doesn’t seem so for industry, federal and state agencies in the US it seems.
Mike’s follow-up Twitter gave some further insights:
“The lawsuits all involve Section 508 compliance or web accessibility standards, like WCAG. The good news: Organizations are moving to WCAG 2.” Mike Paciello again on Twitter, Friday November 21st, 2008
Seeing a concrete move in support of WCAG 2.0 is a really positive sign. The last couple of years have been tough for organisations, designers and developers alike when deciding what version of WCAG to work with. As an accessibility consultant I saw many an organisation face some really difficult decisions as to what version of the guidelines to follow with pros and cons on each side. With WCAG 2.0 planned to be published in December 2008 hopefully some of these difficulties will be put behind us. Of course much hinges on adoption on a European and UK Government level for those of us living on this side of the pond but hopefully things will move forward swiftly.
While an accessible website is more than just working through a WCAG checklist, guidelines that are stable and broadly adopted are key to safe guarding accessibility on today’s increasingly RIA-based and user-generated web.
So bravo Target, in a round about way, for boosting WCAG 2.0 and hopefully we’ll see some real progress in 2009.