By Chris Winter

March 2023

In this blog I start to discuss how to improve the accessibility of websites. There is good data available on the accessibility of websites as described in parts 1 & 2 of this blog. However, it is all but impossible to collect the equivalent data for mobile apps. For that reason, this blog entry focuses on the accessibility of websites. It is highly probable that the solutions described will also apply to mobile apps.

Even though 97% of the world’s top one million websites contain accessibility errors that means that up to 3% do not contain errors. Within the UK there are some high-profile websites such as the BBC and the Telegraph which have good accessibility. Furthermore, many of the UK government websites at central and local level have good accessibility. In general, the UK public sector websites are more accessible than those in the private sector. This is in line with the global findings of WebAIM’s annual report. The turning point for the improved accessibility of government websites was the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (PSBAR)

It is evident that existing technology and engineering approaches can produce websites with better accessibility. The problem with many websites is that the leadership team of organisations that own the website (a) is ignorant of the problem, aka unconscious bias (b) they are aware of the problem but choose to do nothing about it, aka conscious bias.

  • There is a need to raise the awareness of the issue of excluding many of the UK’s disabled people. There are both social and financial considerations driving the need for better inclusion.
  • To retro fit accessibility to a poor website costs money. It is much cheaper to make it accessible from day one. Many websites that are designed to be accessible invariably have better usability for all people.

It perfectly feasible to engineer accessible websites (and mobile apps) using the accessibility features of today’s platforms and approaches such as Inclusive Design. Accessibility is rarely specified as a requirement, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_accessibility .

It is obvious that the accessibility of UK government websites along with those of the BBC and the Telegraph were consciously built to be accessible as consciously decided by the senior leadership team.

With little improvement to the accessibility of websites (and mobile apps) in the private sector during the past quarter of a century. There is a clear need to raise awareness of this issue. Is now the time for government to introduce regulation and / or legislation?

Backward references:

The IT industry must do more for disabled people

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Two

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Three

Forward Reference:

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Five

About the author

Chris Winter FIET FBCS CITP is an Ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance, an evangelist for digital accessibility and a former IBM Fellow, now retired.

 About the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA). The DPA defines Digital Poverty with five key determinants: the affordability of devices and connectivity, accessibility (for the disabled), skills, motivation and a lack of ongoing support. With the breadth of digital poverty being so broad. Its objective is to eradicate digital poverty in the UK by 2030.


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