“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
The Fight for Web Accessibility as a Human Right
It’s the mission of the web accessibility initiative (WAI) to provide access to digital information and communication technologies as a basic human right, therefore it’s important that it’s accessible to all.
The web breaks down communication barriers for those living with a disability in the physical world.
However when websites and digital services are poorly designed they exclude people from using the internet, which is the issue we’re going to be addressing in this blog post.
The UK healthcare sector has been adopting digital technology to improve patient services in the last few years. However there are over 6.9 million disabled people registered in the UK, which represents 19% of the working population, and they need to be able to use the same facilities and receive the same experiences as non-disabled. Therefore the NHS has a duty to provide them with continuing appropriate access in order to comply with accessibility policies.
Better Web Accessibility would Improve Unemployment
In the world today, over a billion people are registered as having a disability according to the World Health Organization.
Focusing on delivering such technology to a high quality standard could potentially benefit the UK economy also, as it could help an additional million more disabled people into work. According to disability charity Scope the UK economy would grow 1.7%, or £45bn.
It’s the responsibility of all web providers, especially those with high volumes of traffic or service providers, to contribute towards reducing discrimination that can occur if a web platform isn’t accessible.
The NHS offer varying text size, colour, PDF accessibility, keyboard navigation and video accessibility across their entire website to ensure patients and users have full use. Their website complies with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Level AA guidelines for accessibility and they “remain committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of their site”. No matter any political decisions or budget cuts etc NHS web accessibility needs to remain a top priority to prevent discrimination.
Similarly, British public service broadcaster institution, the BBC, have “My Web, My Way”, as part of their web service. Their site provides accessibility help, enabling computer users to make the most of the internet whatever their ability or disability. The BBC ensure best practices are followed throughout all of their web pages to reduce discrimination and make their site available to everybody.
Technology is enjoying increasing success in the UK healthcare sector, and the introduction of digital tech that’s tailored to assist those with disabilities is revolutionary for those with physical world conditions. Focusing on continually innovating digital tech and improvements to human interaction services could see huge results and be the driving force behind the development of the NHS.