RNIB to relaunch their site

As reported on the E-Access Bulletin mailing list:

The RNIB is to relaunch its main web site www.rnib.org.uk
next week, to make it more user-friendly for visitors with impaired
vision (which, sorry to say, made this news writer chuckle slightly in a "well duh!" kind of fashion).

According to website manager Margaret O’Donnell the previous site,
which went live in 1995, had grown too large and as a result contained
out-of-date information and had layout inconsistencies between
sections. “Before, we had a big maintenance problem with 20,000
HTML files on the site and a team of only three people.” To combat
this, a new accessible content management system has been installed,
which has also been applied to the RNIB’s intranet.
The new site, which has been two years in the making, will also be
easier to navigate with assistive technologies. “Better-structured
documents will make it easier to read or scan with screen readers,”
O’Donnell said. Staff have also been trained in how to write for text-to-speech software, and other web accessibility issues including plain
style and the avoidance of jargon.

The site will include information on accessing technology, with fact-sheets and resources.

Tip of the hard hat to Darren from Acquiweb for pointing out the news in the first place - thanks !

Text Email Newsletter standard ?

While looking for further details on the above news item, I stumbled across this little nugget of information at Headstar: the Text Email Newsletter standard.

To quote: This standard is designed to ease navigation of plain text email
newsletters by all readers, including those using screen-readers
and other special access technologies.
The standard was developed by E-Access Bulletin, a free email
newsletter on access to technology by visually impaired people
published by Headstar with RNIB.

Comprising 18 common-sense guidelines, it’s certainly not difficult to implement in your own email newsletter practices, and the fact that the RNIB was involved should give this standard some creditibility. My only concern would be that, although this document has been available since December 2002, there is still no list of organisations or individuals adhering to these guidelines. Nevertheless, even if it turns out not to be an “officially accepted” standard, the TEN outline is still worth a read.

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Friday, June 20, 2003

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