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UK Report: Few Charity Websites Are Accessible
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 23, 2006

WORCESTER, ENGLAND--A review of websites for charitable and volunteer organizations -- most of which serve people with disabilities and medical conditions -- has found that most are not accessible to Internet users that have disabilities.

For its "State of the eNation Report" published Monday, assistive technology promoter AbilityNet had its web testing panel review a random sample of national and local charities.

The panel, which is made up of more than 100 people with disabilities, found that nine out of ten such websites in the United Kingdom did not follow basic accessibility standards set by a 1999 anti-discrimination law.

Most of the problems had to do with text on web pages that could not be changed for people that have vision-related disabilities, along with images on the websites that did not have "ALT" tags, which are descriptions that can be read by computerized screen readers.

The reviewers also found that many sites use JavaScript software programs that might not work with some browsers.

"The voluntary sector is likely to be targeting a proportionately higher percentage of disabled people amongst its stakeholder groups, which is why these results are of great concern," Robin Christopherson, AbilityNet's Web Consultancy Manager, said in a press statement. "I believe that there is now almost universal awareness of the issues -- but it may be that charities feel less able to identify the skills and resources required."

"They should know that it needn't be expensive to address even significant accessibility issues on their sites -- and that the business case (even for charities) is overwhelming."

"Charities score low on website accessibility" (AbilityNet)


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