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Web use disability guidance issued

Antony Savvas

Guidance on how to develop a website which is user-friendly for disabled people has been launched today.

The guidance has been issued following an investigation by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), which revealed that 81% of UK websites are inaccessible to disabled people.

The guidance document, Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 78, has been developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and is sponsored by the DRC.

The PAS 78 guide is applicable to all organisations and is intended for use by those responsible for commissioning or maintaining public-facing websites and web-based services.

The document covers six key areas: the accessible website process, from commissioning to building a site; accessibility policies; what web accessibility guidelines mean; involvement of disabled people; compliance checking; and additional useful accessibility provisions.

Since 1999, website owners have had a legal duty under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to ensure that services provided via the web are accessible to disabled people, who number some 10 million people in the UK.

Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC said, “Businesses and the web industry have a responsibility to ensure the web is barrier-free to disabled people. It also makes good business sense.

“An accessible website is easier for both disabled and non-disabled people to use, and is bound to attract more customers,” he said.


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