Thursday, February 28, 2008

Accessibility or bust

Our recent article on major changes to online accessibility regulations is getting a fair bit of coverage across the media.

It's a massively important issue.

Julie Howell, an accessibility guru in the UK who co-wrote the piece with Rune Leth Andersen, a colleague from Fortune Cookie, spoke to the BBC earlier this week.

Here is the interview.

More coverage, some of which explores the issue even further and adds some interesting analysis, can be found here:

Howell will be speaking on this issue at the E-Access: Technology For All conference in London on April 23.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Scott Rains said...

Over at I posted announcement of your website accessibility study with only a cursory comment as other matters pressed at the time. Here is a more thoughtful response to what you have done - and what it could become:

1) Replicate the original study of UK websites at the end of the year in preparation for 2009 (The 2009 version could be announced at the Society for Accessible Tourism & Hospitality (SATH) Congress in Orlando, Florida January 2009)

2) Reverse the focus of the original study as well (Examine the accessibility of sites for the top 5 destinations visited by travelers with disabilities from the UK)

3) Coordinate internationally (Collaborate with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and disabled peoples' organizations (DPOs) in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as they evaluate the accessibility of their travel websites and those of the top 5 travel destinations of people with disabilities for each of these countries)

4) Educate widely (Create simple resources educating the travel industry on the business advantages of accessible information. Include best practice recommendations as well as mandated legal minimums. Provide similar material for consumers to enable them to present their needs to businesses and tourism ministries in an informed and solution-oriented manner. Encourage translation and distribution of these resources.)

5) Announce globally (Present the results of the international study of top travel websites for English-speaking travelers with disabilities at the April 2009 International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT) Conference in Singapore and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT)

6) Repeat annually (Become the monitor of travel industry compliance with standards of online accessibility. Disseminate best practices. Award excellence.)

We generated a set of Conference Recommendations from the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2007)at the UN in Bangkok. They may be useful as context for this approach.

Looking at the global spread of responses to a Geotourism project establishing Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism may also be revealing about the international demand for accessibility facing the travel industry.

Travolution Blogger said...

Scott: Thanks for in-depth reply.

It is certainly something Travolution is considering.

There are a number of issues we monitor regularly - and this is one of the most important.

Here is a link to a study the RNIB did for us in April 2006 (it is worth noting that a number of the sites have since relaunched).

RNIB Roadtest.