The Equality and Human Rights Commission has partnered with AbilityNet and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to develop the first ever digital accessibility training course.

Businesses have a legal obligation to make sure that disabled consumers can use their websites [1]. But research by AbilityNet found that four out of the five most popular price comparison websites were inaccessible to disabled people.

“Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials” will help make sure that businesses are open to disabled people. It covers topics ranging from what web accessibility means to practical examples of how to make websites inclusive.

The short course is for web developers, online editors as well as anyone who generates digital content. At the end of the course, participants take a test to gain a certificate of achievement from BCS. It will be available online and disabled people can request accessible versions from the Commission.

Dr. Jean Irvine, OBE, Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“Cutting out disabled consumers can be costly for businesses, not just in terms of their spending power [2] but also that of their friends and family [3]. They also run the risk of being taken to task for failing to comply with equality law.

“We have worked with several high street retailers to help them make sure their websites and shops are accessible to all consumers. It makes good business sense as simple changes that benefit disabled people, such as making a website easy to navigate, also benefit all customers.”

Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, said:

“Disabled people such as myself love using the internet for shopping, banking, socialising or simply trying to find information – just like everyone else. In fact doing all these things online is often far easier for people who are older or have a disability as it is all there at our fingertips. But unfortunately, many well-known retail websites are inaccessible and it becomes a very frustrating experience.”