Is your intranet breaking the law?

My intranet could be breaking the law!  Why?  What?  How?

Well if you have information or applications that is not accessible to everyone then you could be.  Everyone, whether they have any impairment or not, need to have the same experience when using any intranet information or applications.

Legislation and codes of practice based on the WCAG web accessibility guidelines apply in most countries.  US Section 508 and UK DDA 1995 being two of many examples I know of.

In BT we aim to achieve WCAG 2.0 standard.  This is above the likely legal requirement for UK DDA 1995 and, more importantly, sets best practice for all users of BT’s intranet so they have a good experience whatever they use, whether they are impaired or not.

How are we doing this?  Well, apart from my last post on how to use it as a lever for wider improvements, BT:

Follow the right approach and you won’t get a nasty surprise.  It only takes one discriminated user and you could have a really big problem to solve.

Prevention is much, much, cheaper and better than curing a problem like this.

6 responses to “Is your intranet breaking the law?

  1. I very much appreciate that you giving accessibility some additional attention.

    There are several other legal requirements when it comes to intranets though, e.g. most countries have strict laws about the usage of employee photos. As an intranet manager in a publicly-traded company like BT you also have follow laws around investor / insider related information.

    Perhaps you could do a follow-up posting with another catchy headline that lists the legal requirements that are a part of your role ?

    Cheers, Janus

    • Janus,

      Thanks for your comment. Well you know me by now. Anything for a challenge!

      I’ll have a think and ask around and try to meet your request. Content copyright and digital image rights come to mind. Maybe others reading this can suggest others?


  2. Thanks for highlighting this issue. In response to Janus I wrote a briefing paper on legal issues for intranet managers in 2007 and it’s on the home page of my web site at It is a very popular download. I have to admit it does not cover investor information – time for an update! Despite that I have been working for a truly blue chip client somewhere in Europe and they had absolutely no idea of what I was talking about. One of the best books on the subject is reviewed at It is a subject that is given very little coverage in web design books published in the USA.


    • Martin,

      Thanks for your comments and links which I will follow up. I may have to write a book too if I start to cover BT’s investor/insider relationship responsibilities and how we comply with OFCOM on all regulatory matters! 🙂

      One thing is certain, Janus does like to provoke a conversation doesn’t he?


  3. Pingback: More ways to make your intranet legal « Mark Morrell

  4. Pingback: Intranettips en lessons learned: de 5 beste lijstjes | Frankwatching

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