Thursday, August 28, 2008

The blind leading the sighted

I've just been reading the State of the eNation report on the Beijing Olympics website, where they invited disabled web users to test the accessibility features of the site.

While they found a number of the worst issues commonly reported by these users had been addressed, the remaining accessibility problems still made it very difficult to use some parts of the site.

In my past roles, and from what I've witnessed across other organisations, in many cases while companies might engage Vision Australia or a similar organisations for 'spot checks' of websites when they had the funds for it, companies have often relied on interpretations of the web accessibility standards by web professionals rather than referring to staff with first-hand experience.

My team is currently building an internal reference group to oversee the accessibility of our website and intranet, drawing on staff with vision, hearing and movement impairments.

I wonder how many other government agencies could - or already are - doing the same.

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