[access-uk] The Inaccessible Herts Society for the Blind Web Site

  • From: "John Farley" <john_farley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <TNTALK@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "info BCAB" <bcab@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 20:23:18 -0000

All, first I must apologise for the cross posting of this note. I feel very
strongly abut it and wanted it to reach the widest possible audience.

I am a member of the Hertfordshire Society for the Blind and attended it's
A.G.M. on 17th November. One of the activities at this event was the launch
of their new web site on 
www.hertsblind.com on that day.. 

It was very difficult at this time to fully review the site, but I did so
when I got back to a PC with full access to a screen reader, in my case

I found that the site was not properly accessible to people using a screen
reader, in fact an issue which was known about and published on the site

That day I pointed out, in e-mail, the access problems with the site and
requested that something be done abut it urgently.

Despite protestations from the senior staff of HSB that they had taken the
needs of visually impaired people into account and that they would fix the
site the issue is not being dealt with in the manner which I would expect.
Today I was notified that it may be corrected by the end of January.

I am sorry, but the message that this gives out is that the needs of
visually impaired people who use the internet are very much secondary to
some other greater need. I find this totally unacceptable from a body
designed to help visually impaired people.

I am told that the HSB does not have vast funds and so cannot do what larger
charities do with their web sites; a very cursory inspection of the site
would show that the access changes required are not great, but would then
enable it to be useable. For a reason I do not understand HSB have been
advised that the site builder requires a new piece of software in order to
make it compatible with screen readers and that this will need to be learnt
before it can be put in place. I don't buy this excuse!
Some examples of the issues on the site (which I have informed HSB about):

 On many pages, if not all there are what I take to be links to other
information which are not accessible. These are the usual navigation links.
They have been set up with a graphical link rather than what I believe is
the standard kind of link which screen readers can use. On the front page
Window-Eyes reports 5 links, where I believe there are in excess of 22 on

It is actually fairly difficult for a user with a screen reader to Comment
on the site as the link to the Contact Us and Comments sections are not

There are a number of documents which can be downloaded for subsequent use.
They appear to be some sort of protected Word document. Once downloaded, due
to the protection you cannot use the cursor to navigate around them. Some
access is available with a virtual mouse, but that is far from properly
accessible. A PDF document would have been much better. 

It would be nice if the site were to make a little more concession to Its
VIP readers and accommodate changing of font size and colour to allow   for
easier reading for those with some sight.

By means of this e-mail I would hope that the HSB would receive a greater
deal of lobbying in order to make their site accessible in a more acceptable
time frame.

Regards, John. 
John Farley 

        Personal Contact              Work contact                   
Phone : 01442 259243                  01442 437731                  
Mobile: 07815 056076                  07785 928755                   
Fax   :                               01442 437909
E-Mail: john_farley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx    john.farley@xxxxxxxx            

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