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ICT Accessibility

Resources, guidelines and tips for making your organisation's computers accessible to all.


Accessibility

Accessibility (Photo: Jill Wright)

Making your organisation's computers accessible to all isn't just about complying with the law, it's also good practice and good for the health and morale of computer users.  ICT accessibility matters and the proof is in the numbers - 20% of the population of population require some kind of reading support.  The government's own data estimates there are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability, with the most commonly-reported impairments are those that affect mobility, lifting or carrying


What is accessible ICT?

Accessibility is about making modifications and adjustments to computers so they are easier and more inclusive for all users to access. The Equality Act 2010 obliges all organisations to ensure goods, services or facilities supplied are accessible (i.e. websites, mobile devices, publications).


Why IT accessibility matters?

  • improve your organisation and reach to more people by being accessible
  • increase productivity and benefit - use the skills of older and disabled staff and volunteers
  • accessibility can increase your organisation’s client base
  • increased accessibility benefits all
  • strengthen your funding bids


Accessibility and the law

The Equality Act 2010 replaces and enhances previous equalities law (Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and SENDA 2001), and covers the supply of goods, services, and facilities. The Equality Act defines a mental or physical impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.(DWP).  The Act also places burden of making "reasonable adjustments" on the provider.

JISC legal: equality, disability and the law
Useful guidance on ICT accessibility in the education sector.

AbilityNet: Workplace assessments
AbilityNet, the leading charity experts on IT accessibility, provide workplace assessments on making computers accessible.


Accessible Websites

If you’re commissioning web sites be aware of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which state you have a duty to be proactive and inclusive in web design.

In the UK British Standard BS 8878:2010, (Web Accessibility Code of Practice) applies. The standard has been designed to introduce non-technical professionals to improved accessibility, usability and user experience for disabled and older people. It gives guidance on process, rather than on the technical and design aspects and is consistent with the Equality Act 2010 and PAS78. It is referenced in the UK government’s e-Accessibility Action Plan as the basis of updated advice on developing accessible online services. It recommends that people with disabilities are included in the development process and using automated tools to assist with accessibility testing.

See also www.fixtheweb.net and AbilityNet's expert accessibility resources at https://www.abilitynet.org.uk/expert-resources

Mobile technologies are often useful for users with disabilities, so as part of good web design ensure that all sites are just as usable on a touchscreen device or smartphone as they are on a full sized screen. 


Go On Gold

As 43% of people with a disability have never been on-line, the Go On Gold campaign was originally set up to raise awareness about the barriers they encounter in accessing computers and the Internet for the first time. The website is no longer being updated, but still contains many links to resources and information you can share with a disabled person to help remove those barriers. There are three sections.


Further Guidance

www.jisclegal.ac.uk/ManageContent/ViewDetail/ID/2645/Mobile-Technologies-and-the-Law-Overview-19-November-2012.aspx

Mobile Technologies and the Law

www.jisclegal.ac.uk/ManageContent/ViewDetail/ID/3072/Risk-Liability-and-Mobile-Devices-1-My-2013.aspx

Risk, liability and mobile devices


Anything missing? Tell us in the comments if you've seen or used a resource we should include here.

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