Have you ever made an accessibility complaint?
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
Central Digital and Data Office and The Big Hack
The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) 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 CDDO 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:
- how to complain about inaccessible public sector websites
- website accessibility complaints process, frequently asked questions
- making a complaint about accessibility, an email template
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- What are some of the most common accessibility barriers you face?
- Have you ever made an accessibility complaint before?
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