Digital accessibility campaigners are hoping that their new animated video will show designers how to avoid excluding disabled people from their websites, mobile phone apps, software and documents.
The animation was commissioned by Fix the Web – a project which uses thousands of volunteers to report problems with inaccessible websites – to mark today’s (21 May) fourth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
The animated video (pictured) explains what digital accessibility is, why it is important, and offers 15 tips to help designers improve the accessibility of their technology.
The charity Citizens Online, the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC), a social enterprise, and the consultancy Dig Inclusion, which are all part of Fix the Web’s steering group, have each played a part in producing the video.
The animation offers advice such as providing captions and transcripts for audio and visual content; making text easy to understand; and providing an accessibility statement.
Jaime Purvis, a team leader with DAC, said it was vital to “get the message out there”, and added: “It is important to get the message across that technology is becoming a big part of everyday life for the majority of people and the more people can use that technology the better.”
The problems he faces himself, as a blind user of digital technology, include areas of websites that are not labelled in a way that makes them accessible to him, and hyperlinks that are not labelled clearly.
He said: “I think the ground work is being done, but there is still a lot more that could be done.”
The video was also supported by the disabled author and performer Stephen Fry, who retweeted it to his 9.8 million followers on Twitter, and described it as “revealing and helpful”.
James Beecher, from Citizens Online, added: “Digital technology provides amazing opportunities and has great emancipatory potential – so it’s a travesty that those opportunities aren’t routinely accessible to everyone.
“We really hope this animation will help people understand what digital accessibility is, why it’s important, and how to take some steps toward improving their digital technology.”
Last month, Citizens Online released a digital accessibility report which concluded that although progress was being made, most websites were still failing to meet minimum accessibility requirements.
Events to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day were being held today across the world, including in the US and Canada, the two countries where the idea originated, as well as New Zealand, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, France, India, the Netherlands, Denmark, Bangladesh, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
In the UK, there were events planned in London, Edinburgh, and Llandarcy, in Wales.