UnumProvident, the insurance company which specialises in income protection products, has become the first UK company to qualify for a ground-breaking new accessibility accreditation scheme.
The new scheme – “See It Right with Usability” – is run jointly by the Royal National Institute for the Blind and technology and disability charity AbilityNet, and combines the former’s accessibility assessment with testing by the latter’s panel of disabled web users.
Its launch follows the publication in March of new guidance from the British Standards Institute, aimed at ensuring that sites are accessible to and usable by disabled people, as is already required under the 1999 Disability Discrimination Act.
But Julie Howell, digital policy development manager at the RNIB, points out that making websites usable and accessible to disabled people is not just red tape: there are almost 10 million people in the UK classified as disabled, with a combined disposable income of nearly &£50bn.
Furthermore, sites which comply are also on average 35% quicker and easier for non-disabled users. And, finally, accessibility assessment can also identify problems which may make a website unusable by people with older computers, firewalls, PDAs, WAP phones and WebTV devices.