Campaign will sign up disabled surfers to fix the web


A new campaign is hoping tens of thousands of disabled people will help to fix the problems caused by inaccessible websites.

Fix the Web hopes its scheme will enable access problems on up to 250,000 websites to be reported to their owners within two years.

The campaign, backed by the disability charity AbilityNet, is led by Citizens Online, which campaigns for wider access to the internet.

Fix the Web aims to provide disabled people with a “quick and easy” way to make complaints about inaccessible websites.

Any disabled person will be able to report an access problem through the Fix the Web site, via Twitter or by email, while filing this report should take less than a minute.

Thousands of volunteers will then take up the complaints on their behalf and liaise with the owners of the websites over fixing the problems.

AbilityNet said four-fifths of websites were still failing to meet minimum accessibility criteria, with problems including images with no captions or alternative text; the use of distracting animations; and websites that can only be used by mouse-users.

Robin Christopherson, AbilityNet’s head of digital inclusion, said:  “A raft of legislation already obliges website providers to ensure accessibility…but the business case for so doing is overwhelming.”

Citizens Online said blind web-users report wasting 30 per cent of their web time because of problems with access.

Disabled web-surfer Mandy de la Mare said the campaign was “a fantastic idea”.

She added: “I have tried complaining to various websites but either the forms were not accessible for me or if I do manage to lodge a complaint, I do not get a reply.”

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11 November 2010


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