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Have you ever made an accessibility complaint?

Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Scope community team Posts: 2,953 Disability Gamechanger
edited March 5 in Coffee lounge

Should you make a complaint about the accessibility of an app or website?

That is a question I’ve asked myself many times, and I’m sure you have too. In a time where demand for digital services has never been higher, the importance for apps and websites to be accessible to disabled people is enormous. 

Everyone has a right to access and use online public services and information. These digital services exist to help people to do essential and everyday tasks. From booking a GP appointment to renewing a passport.

Public sector websites and mobile applications should be accessible, they should be easy for everyone to use. That includes for people who:

  • use assistive technology like a screen reader or speech recognition software
  • use browser customisations, like increasing magnification or changing colours
  • have difficulties with anxiety or concentration
  • are dyslexic or autistic

Accessible public services – what the law says

Accessibility Regulations say that public sector organisations have a legal duty to:

  • make sure their websites and mobile apps meet accessibility requirements
  • publish an accessibility statement

To do this, organisations need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These help make digital services easier for people to see, hear, understand and use.

These Regulations apply to public sector organisations including:

  • Local councils and parish councils
  • Central government departments
  • Most NHS organisations
  • Most universities and colleges
  • Some charities and other non-government organisations
accessibility complaints banner showing the heads of 7 people on a yellow background to the left of the text which says accessibility complaints process your questions answered

Government Digital Service and The Big Hack

The Government Digital Service (GDS) and The Big Hack by Scope have collaborated to produce a guide focussed on how to make an accessibility complaint about a public sector website or app, along with a series of frequently asked questions in relation to the subject.

The intention is to  encourage more disabled people to use their voice and point out where barriers still exist. Likewise, government, service providers and ombudsman need to ensure that legislation is enforced and complaints are listened to and acted upon.

Providing your feedback to an organisation can help improve the accessibility of websites and mobile apps for you and many other people who use the digital service. 

Research shows that only 1 in every 10 disabled people who encounter barriers online will make a complaint, but The more an organisation hears about accessibility from people who use their digital service, the more likely it is that accessibility will become a higher priority. 

Sadly it’s often unclear as to how users can raise complaints and escalate them, so that’s why the GDS and The Big Hack have created a step-by-step guide to the accessibility complaints process, including some frequently asked questions. There is also a ready-made email template you can use to send off to companies about their online processes.

You can find the resources below:

Give us your thoughts

  • What are some of the most common accessibility barriers you face?
  • Have you ever made an accessibility complaint before?
  • What do you think about the accessibility complaints process?
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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 8,595 Disability Gamechanger
    I must say I was impressed with the gov website yesterday when I filed for divorce online 

    Fingers crossed it stays that way 
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,267 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello as a disabled person using a class 3 mobility scooter a new housing development was going well but near the end of the build the access point to the new development from busy roads had railing staggered across each entry/ exit. I could get through if I went beside the railings but not between which if the council or developer put a fence alongside the path. So on contacting my local councillor she took up my case and a few months later the distance between the railings was made wider and a recent input of railings are set at the desired distances. Very few pavements on the development or markings for the blind or those with poor eye sight. No undulations for them to feel through their feet when near a road this was mentioned but nothing was done.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,802 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 5
    Sadly there’s no obligation to put tactile paving in on private developments. There is clear guidance for building sites but it’s widely disregarded although in central Manchester there was some success with getting Metrolink contractors to comply when constructing the second city crossing.

    I do love that GDS are collaborating with Scope on this. Generally gov.uk is fine when it comes to accessibility. The bigger issue there is the lack of depth to the data. However, GDS are the people who know so little a little accessibility that they have this insane/inane “empathy lab” for people to come try assistive kit. This completely reinforces the idea that impairment does not exist unless made visible by assistive tech, aids or appliances 

    Currently on my 4th accessibility complaint. 1 success against an employer. 1 success against a public transport provider. 1 success against a web site. About to cover several bases with a complaint against an accessibility group. 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Scope community team Posts: 2,953 Disability Gamechanger


    Currently on my 4th accessibility complaint. 1 success against an employer. 1 success against a public transport provider. 1 success against a web site. About to cover several bases with a complaint against an accessibility group. 
    Glad you've had success in the past when making a complaint about accessibility.janer1967 said:
    I must say I was impressed with the gov website yesterday when I filed for divorce online 

    Fingers crossed it stays that way 
    I'm also a fan of the government website in terms of accessibility. The layouts are often simple enough and the pages are screen reader friendly
    Online Community Coordinator

    Find out more about, and apply for, the Community Co-production Group.

    Fill out the online community's new online survey to help us improve the community.

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • GlobsterGlobster Member Posts: 646 Pioneering
    @Ross_Scope
    I made a complaint against a Specsavers store because I could wheelchair in their room for my slight test there had a refurb and said they consult their disability to see if the shop was accessible for wheelchair and was asked if could get wheelchair my dad had hold head against equipment. I never went back to that I even wrote a letter to the manager of the manager in a letter just apologised for that in this day age you would expect from a big company like specsavers.
    I never went back to the store now I go boots for an eye test because big rooms for my wheelchair    
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