By Chris Winter FIET FBCS CITP

November 2022

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on digital services. However, millions if not a billion plus of people are being left behind by the poor accessibility of nearly all websites. The significant and positive contribution of IT to society is accurately reflected in the Archives. There is a need to improve the IT industry’s contribution to disabled people.

My objective is to eradicate poor digital accessibility of web pages and how they affect the UK’s 14 million registered disabled citizens by 2030.

Some history

The Internet and the World Wide Web together have brought significant benefits to society in general including the world’s estimated one billion plus disabled people.

The web accessibility in mind (WebAIM) organisation publishes its annual WebAIM Million  report in which it analyses the accessibility of the top one million home pages globally. The home pages are automatically evaluated for conformance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)   Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Versions of which have been around for over two decades. The headline of 2022 edition of the WebAIM Million report stated that ‘97.4% of the one million home pages evaluated had detected WCAG_2 failures!’.

Digital Services have undoubtedly brought huge benefits to society including disabled people. However, many of the world’s one billion plus (UK fourteen million) disabled people have been excluded. From my limited research into this topic the two top causes of this problem are:

  1. Organisations are unaware of the problem.
  2. Once aware, a lack of business prioritisation of the needs of disabled people in website design.

It is known how to engineer digital services to be accessible because

  • There exists a few (too few) global, including UK, websites that are very accessible such as the BBC, the Telegraph and most UK government websites.
  • The W3C recognised the need for accessibility with its first iteration of the WCAG in 1999.
  • Most tech platforms include good accessibility features that enable digital services to be digitally accessible.
  • There are a variety of assistive technologies that work well with WCAG conformant websites to help certain disabilities such as blindness to access the digital world.

You can help

Please can you help by communicating this issue within your organisation and across the broader IT industry.

Please post additional suggested actions or evidence of good or poor accessibility.

Forward references:

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

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

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

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 disabled people), 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.


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.