The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 states that ALL businesses, regardless of size, have to take reasonable measures to ensure that their goods and services are made accessible to disabled people. Approximately 80% of websites do not comply. We take it for granted. Everyday we log on to our computer, click the internet icon and start searching the web for the sites we want to visit. But just how easy is it to access the internet when hampered by visual impairment or other disability?
People in this sector of society contribute significantly to the economy with an estimated annual purchasing power in the UK of £80 billion. Therefore, it makes economic sense for companies to try and attract some of that revenue by making their goods and services more accessible and user-friendly.
Arriba Marketing, now known as Fresh Ideas, is an Aberdeen-based provider of integrated marketing and communication services, including advertising, web design and copywriting. The company offers a full range of support services to assist businesses improve the accessibility of their corporate communications and promotional material, including websites and printed items.
Fresh Ideas based documentation.
According to Joyce Scott, managing director of Fresh Ideas, there is a distinct lack of awareness in the business sector that websites are included in the DDA recommendations regarding accessibility. “Whilst most companies are aware that they need to make their premises as accessible as possible, when it comes to corporate communications it is a different story.
People seem genuinely unaware that they are expected to take measures to improve the accessibility of their websites and other forms of communication in addition to improving physical access.”
The Business Challenge
Joyce feels there is a lot to be done yet to increase awareness amongst business owners with regard to their DDA responsibilities.
Through Interface - the knowledge connection for business, Fresh Ideas met up with Professor Thomas Connelly of the University of Paisley's School of Computing to examine the whole area of web accessibility.
The aim of the project was to develop a template based web development system that not only was DDA compliant but went beyond the current recommendations in terms of accessibility options.
This collaboration also developed an online and offline restaurant menu solution as one of its modules specifically for the hotel and restaurant sector.
This would serve the dual purpose of assisting those people who are visually impaired to choose from a menu in addition to acting as a promotional tool and alternative format for those without impairment.
As the quest for businesses to be more compliant continues, Fresh Ideas, thanks to the help of Interface and the University of Paisley, will leverage more business opportunities by showing companies that they can adopt a host of user friendly tools to make websites more attractive to people with disabilities.
Keen to find out more- check Arriba Marketing out here.