Does anyone NOT want the web to be more accessible?

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Does anyone NOT want the web to be more accessible?

Accessibility consultant Karl Groves ; sorry, I suspect but most people don’t share your love of technical detail.

Dear Mr. Groves,

I would have liked to have said something at the end of your piece criticising Sitemorse, but since you don’t allow comments I thought I’d post it here.

Poor old Sitemorse are in the trenches again after publishing a piece about WCAG2. Some people had a go at them on Twitter, but you published a very long item, calling them among other things, “stupid” “ignorant” and “uninformed”.

Well, I have to say Sitemorse has never been known to shy away from having a go at the establishment. I found that out for myself when I was in charge of the corporate website at ICI more than a decade  ago. How very dare they have a go at my site using their magic software? I and colleagues were rightly up in arms at their claims, and their methods.

But it did turn out they were right, our websites were stuffed full of things that just didn’t work. And we didn’t know it. Of course that was when ‘accessibility’ was just a gleam in the eye of the web establishment. Sitemorse doesn’t pre-date the Pharoahs, as you jokingly say, but it has been around now for 15 years, and is much-imitated, but it has had plenty of time to define and redefine its methodology. And you don’t find the management of Coke giving their recipe away, by the way.

Later, at another FTSE company, I fell out with Sitemorse when their rating of my brand new,  expensive site was lower than the one that replaced it. Imagine the anger, confusion and temper.

But guess what, again they were right. Our new website was stuffed full of legacy financial documents, in inaccessible formats like PowerPoint.

I have even worked alongside Sitemorse for a period since those days (though not now) and do not doubt the company’s commitment to making the web a better place, and that includes for disabled users. Anyone that has ever run a major website knows that meeting accessibility standards is not easy. Sitemorse are the first to admit that their automated testing of sites is not the be all and end all of accessibility.

But many people charged with the task of running a big web presence, Mr Groves, find the subject of accessibility has grown until it often appears so complicated they do not know where to turn. It’s vitally important we get it right, but do we have to be a Wizard like yourself to do so? And if we call on such a person, which Wizard do we talk to?  Do you not have your own accessibility product/solution? So how are the mere mortals to know that yours is so much better than the one offered by Sitemorse?

As a web manager I don’t need to know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I want to know how to improve MY site without technospeak. I would love a perfect solution but maybe I don’t have the budget to hire all those wizards that I’d need to, so maybe the best way forward would be to follow a list of priorities, as Sitemorse has said.

It would be a start, and a clear overall  improvement if enough organisations started doing it, surely?

I see Sitemorse have published their suggested list of ten improvements. Whatever you think of them, at least they are prepared to stand up and be counted for doing something.

Kind regards.

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cookie monster

Will leaving the EU affect your company’s website?

Since much of the litigation around websites has come from the European Union in recent years, does any future action to leave the union mean that we no longer have to comply with European legislation?

Just two months ago, for example, negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible, especially for the blind, the deaf and the hard of hearing.

Accessibility is one item that has driven change across UK business online communications, among others. The “Cookie Law” started as a European Directive.

What do we think – will we move forwards or backwards, and will there be any real impact on perhaps having to make our own rules in the future?

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