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Digital Britain isn’t accessible enough

A new post on Techradar, based on one blogger’s unhappy experiences of accessibility – both online and in the real world:

“What will it take take for Deaf and Disabled people to be a real part of so called Digital Britain?” Smith says. “Why do we have to fight for our access needs so much? Where are there no live subtitles streaming online at conferences? Where’s the audio description? Why aren’t websites compatible with screen readers? Why can’t conferences get the access right?”

They’re good questions. Does anybody have the answers?

3 replies on “Digital Britain isn’t accessible enough”

Just read his original post – bloody disgraceful. I organised a conference years ago in DC and although there were just three deaf people in attendance, I had a sign language interpreter scheduled and briefed a month in advance. Someone should be sacked.

IMHO accessibility in this country is regarded as a box-ticking exercise – IE what standards do we have to achieve, what tick boxes must we run through – rather than an ongoing process of understanding audiences and responding to their needs. Part and parcel with the UK’s obsession with accreditations and standards in general. It’s why the recent BSI draft standards on accessibility had me ready to punch something. It is just the totally wrong way to go about it – they are seeking to make it more bureaucratic and rigid rather than more flexible and responsive.

Here is a book on accessibility which sums up how it should be done:
http://www.uiaccess.com/accessucd/

Interestingly the two accessible sites I’ve done are for motor disabilities (MND) and cognitive disabilities (bipolar). Accessibility isn’t just for the blind and deaf.

> IMHO accessibility in this country is regarded as a box-ticking exercise – IE what standards do we have to achieve, what tick boxes must we run through – rather than an ongoing process of understanding audiences and responding to their needs.

Absolutely. It should be baked into the whole process. Can’t remember where I saw it – possibly Alison’s blog – but someone said that funding bodies for web tech things could help a lot by making accessibility a key requirement for anything they fund.

Client resistance is still a big one too: firms think it’ll be expensive, don’t get the “accessible design is multi-platform design” thing, want to tick as few regulatory boxes as they can possibly get away with.

Also – I’ve never actually checked to see if this here site is accessible, just assumed that it is because it’s on WP. I think that lack of thought is pretty widespread.

Quick scan: 1 priority 1 violation, 5 priority 2s, and 8 priority 3s. Your P1 is in your search bar, which is an accessibility bugbear for any site.

I’d had a discussion with my MSP earlier in the year about better accessibility for MSPs web sites, which are after all publicly funded (parliamentary expenses) to share information about public sector work. When crap like this is tolerated from our elected representatives, is it any wonder clients resist as well?
http://www.christinegrahame.com/

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