The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
— Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
It is essential when thinking about developing a digital inclusion project that both the resources and support provided are accessible to all. This includes ensuring that online resources can be easily accessed by everyone, and that Digital Champions understand how to use assistive technology to support people with specific impairments such as sight loss.
Providing accessible support
Digital inclusion projects when setting up need to consider how to offer fully accessible support. There are plenty of online resources which Digital Champions can use to support learning on the best approaches to working with people with different needs.
The Digital Champions Network offers Digital Champions general training on working with people with different abilities.
Other resources which may be useful are:
The A11Y (accessibility) Project provides a collection of resources, blogs, software, online tools and more with the goal of making accessibility easier to implement on the web.
Make Technology Work for Everyone a helpful video from Citizens Online highlighting many of the key issues and barriers plus how to overcome them.
Funkify is an extension for Google Chrome which helps you experience the web and interfaces through the eyes of users with different abilities and disabilities.
Accessibility at AbilityNet provides information and resources on the many ways to make a keyboard, mouse, Windows, the internet and different applications suit different needs.
Citizens Online, who recently underwent a website redesign process with accessibility at the forefront, have published 11 recommended resources for understanding digital accessibility.
Making your project accessible
Here are some suggested questions to ask when developing a digital inclusion project or service for people with sensory loss:
- Look at how you communicate about your project. Do you actively encourage people with sensory impairments to get in touch etc? Do you use friendly, encouraging messaging about how anyone, regardless of their skill, ability, need can get support from your project?
- Have your staff and volunteers received training on working with people with sensory impairments? Are they confident on the basic do’s and don’t etc?
- Have you the right technical skills to support someone with a sensory impairment to know how to use access technology on all formats? Both laptop and desktop computers as well as the built in accessibility functions of tablets and smartphones.
- Do you know where you can go to get more specialist access technology support if you need to/want to grow and improve your service to be inclusive and accessible to all?
RNIB have a number of resources available to support individuals with getting online and using technology. Such resources can be a useful guide for organisations looking to develop a digital skills project which is fully accessible and inclusive.
Online Today: begin your online journey (an introduction to getting online if you have sight loss)
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