An ingenious new campaign called Fix the Web was launched earlier this month to tackle the problem of inaccessible websites on a massive scale.
Fix the Web is an initiative of Citizens Online, a national charity that campaigns for internet access for all.
Ever found that you can’t use a website and have no idea how to report it? Or worse, the feedback facility is as inaccessible as the rest of the site?
Fix the Web www.fixtheweb.net has been launched to provide a quick and easy way for people to make complaints – as well as to introduce a volunteer-led process for those complaints to be reported back to website owners to get fixed.
The internet has been a liberating force in the lives of many disabled people, opening up a wonderful new world of communication, ideas and networks. In theory, it should have created a level playing field.
The majority of websites are simply not designed with accessibility for all in mind, despite the proven business case for inclusion. With around 6 million excluded disabled and older people in the UK with a combined spending power of £50 – 60 billion(ii), in purely commercial terms, inaccessible sites are clearly losing out.
Unfortunately, millions of disabled and older people are excluded from easily navigating their way around the web. To compound the problem, it is often difficult to complain about the offending sites.
Citizens Online believes that disabled people should not be expected to fight their corner alone. For this reason Fix the Web is recruiting a huge taskforce of tech volunteers to champion the cause and report problems back to web owners. The project aims to have 10,000 volunteers dealing with 250,000 websites within two years of launch. This will ensure that disabled users can make complaints quickly in the knowledge that there will be technical support on hand to take things forward on their behalf.
Fix the Web has been made available as a result of seed funding from Nominet Trust(v) and partners such as AbilityNet(vi) and Hanona(vii).
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