First digital accessibility course announced

29 Jun 2012 01:33 PM

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has partnered with AbilityNet and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to develop the first ever digital accessibility training course. 

Businesses have a legal obligation to make sure that disabled consumers can use their websites 1. But research by AbilityNet found that four out of the five most popular price comparison websites were inaccessible to disabled people.  

“Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials” will help make sure that businesses are open to disabled people. It covers topics ranging from what web accessibility means to practical examples of how to make websites inclusive. 

The short course is for web developers, online editors as well as anyone who generates digital content. At the end of the course, participants take a test to gain a certificate of achievement from BCS. It will be available online and disabled people can request accessible versions from the Commission. 

Dr. Jean Irvine, OBE, Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: 

“Cutting out disabled consumers can be costly for businesses, not just in terms of their spending power 2 but also that of their friends and family 3. They also run the risk of being taken to task for failing to comply with equality law. 

“We have worked with several high street retailers to help them make sure their websites and shops are accessible to all consumers. It makes good business sense as simple changes that benefit disabled people, such as making a website easy to navigate, also benefit all customers.”  

Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, said:

“Disabled people such as myself love using the internet for shopping, banking, socialising or simply trying to find information - just like everyone else. In fact doing all these things online is often far easier for people who are older or have a disability as it is all there at our fingertips. But unfortunately, many well-known retail websites are inaccessible and it becomes a very frustrating experience.”

People can find out more about the training and register their interest via the Commission’s website at: www.equalityhumanrights.com/webaccessibilityessentials 

or via:- 

Online: www.bcs.org/wae  

Email: waesupport@hq.bcs.org.uk 

Phone: 01793 417 555

Textphone: 0845 604 6620  

For more press information, contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818. For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to editors

1 The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal obligation for organisations to make websites accessible to disabled people. This replaced existing obligations to disabled consumers in the Disability Discrimination Act. The British standard on web accessibility (BS 8878) outlines a framework for web accessibility when designing or commissioning web products.

2 10 million disabled people live in the UK with a combined annual spending power of £80 billion (DWP, December 2004) 

3 58% of disabled people say that the way in which businesses treat them affects the shopping habits of their friends and families. 26% say that poor service means others are less likely to shop with the business; a further 16% said that friends and family never shop with companies which have provided a poor service (Employers' Forum on Disability customer survey, 2006)

Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials is available to order directly from BCS at: www.bcs.org/wae. Each licence is for one year from the first time the course is used. Individually and corporate site licences are available:-

Net Price Price with VAT

Single user    £30.00    £36.00

Site licence for 100 users  £995.00 £1194.00

Site licence for 200 users £1750.00 £2100.00

Site licence for 500 users £2995.00 £3594.00

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals. Website: www.equalityhumanrights.com 

AbilityNet is a national charity helping disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology. Their special expertise is ensuring that whatever your age, health condition, disability or situation you find exactly the right way to adapt or adjust your ICT to make it easier to use. Website: www.abilitynet.org.uk

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, collaborates with government, industry and relevant bodies to establish good working practices, codes of conduct, skills frameworks and common standards. Their mission is to enable the information society. The Institute promotes wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice. Website: www.bcs.org