RNIB speaks out following DRC Report

News release: 81% of UK web sites failing disabled people - RNIB says make sites user-friendly

The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) is calling on businesses,
the Government and the web design industry to make their web sites
user-friendly for people with sight problems and other disabilities. The
call follows a report published 14 April 2004 which reveals that 81 per cent
of UK web sites fail to meet even the most basic accessibility requirements
for disabled people.

RNIB warmly welcomes the publication of the report by the Disability Rights
Commission (DRC) which highlights a need for more Government resource to be
directed towards initiatives that help businesses ensure their web sites are
usable by disabled people.

A DRC Investigation studied one thousand sites to arrive at a set of
recommendations on how web sites can be made easier for disabled people to
use. Fifteen recommendations have been published in the report of the DRC
Formal Investigation into Web Accessibility.

Julie Howell, Digital Policy Development Officer at RNIB, said: “Businesses
have a social responsibility as well as a legal duty to ensure that disabled
people can use their web sites. Add to this the compelling business case
(there are 8.7 million disabled people in the UK). The DRC findings would
indicate that there is a need for additional Government initiatives and
resources to make businesses aware of what they must do to reach disabled

The DRC recommendation that the Government should ‘facilitate the
establishment of a code of practice for accessible web site development’ is
being strongly endorsed by RNIB.

RNIB provides resources that help businesses develop an understanding of how
disabled customers can be reached:

  • an online Web Access Centre packed with information and guidance
  • a web site auditing service
  • a consultancy service to help businesses tap into a market with a revenue
    potential of £45bn per year
  • RNIB’s ‘See it Right’ award, a symbol that indicates that a web site has
    been designed to be usable by disabled people.

In response to the DRC report RNIB is announcing additional measures:

  • a series of regional seminars for businesses that wish learn about web
    accessibility policy, featuring practical demonstrations of the technology
    blind and partially sighted people use to read web sites
  • RNIB is investigating the feasibility of creating a ’social firm’ that
    will provide web site developers with ready access to blind and partially
    sighted people to feedback on web site designs.

Julie Howell added, “RNIB urges businesses to consider the practical
improvements that can be made to their web sites to ensure disabled people
can enjoy the same quality of experience on the web as everyone else.”

The report is available for download from the Disability Rights Commission web site at http://www.drc-gb.org/publicationsandreports/report.asp

A web cast of the launch event is available at http://www.drc-gb.org/webcast/


  1. RNIB helps people with sight problems to live full and independent lives.
    We campaign to change society’s actions and assumptions so that people with
    sight problems can enjoy the same rights, freedoms and responsibilities as
    fully sighted people.
  2. If you or somebody you know has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the
    RNIB Helpline on 0845-766 9999.
  3. RNIB Web Access Centre provides the tools and resources needed to plan,
    build and test accessible web sites: http://www.rnib.org.uk/webaccesscentre
  4. Enquiries about RNIB’s ‘See it Right’ award and web accessibility
    consultancy services: webaccess@rnib.org.uk
  5. Details of RNIB Web Accessibility Seminars will be released shortly.
  6. Further information about RNIB’s ‘Social Firm’ will be released later in
  7. RNIB’s Technology Helpline can be contacted at technology@rnib.org.uk.
  8. For more information about the DRC and the Formal Investigation into Web
    Accessibility and copy of the report, contact Alyson Rose in the DRC press
    office: 0207-543 7044 or Alyson.Rose@drc-gb.org.
Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Accessify on Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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