Web Accessability Petition

It’s not like me to post anything political, but I’ll make an exception for this.

In the UK the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) covers access to services for disabled people; the part of the act that covers websites came into force in 1999.

The act states that “reasonable adjustments” to ensure that their service is accessible to people with disabilities.

A widely accepted measure of accessibility is the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There are three levels defined in the WCAG A, AA & AAA. Any site claiming to be accessable should really meet the AA standard as a minimum.

It may come as a surprise that the government launched a new website in June last year that fails to do this.

In June 2006 the DTI launched their new website. Despite an approximate cost of £200,000, the website failed to meet basic accessibility standards. In short, this meant that the information on the website was inaccessible to some UK citizens – this is absolutely inexcusable. Further work (requiring further taxpayer money) was promised to bring the website up to Level AA of the Web Accessibility Initiative. The purpose of this petition is to ensure that all future government websites meet basic accessibility requirements from launch.

Clearly this is wrong. At best it can be seen as negligence on the part of the DTI; for a government department to ignore the guidelines like this is inexcusable. That’s why I’ve signed this petition, and you should too.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that any website launched by the government complies with accessibility standards (WCAG AA at least).

Sign the petition.