21 February, 2005 at 07:03 Leave a comment

Executive Summary of AccessXP

“The power of the Web is in its Universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect. Not providing accessibility at any level is a crime against humanity”
                                                                    – Tim Berners Lee, Inventor of WWW

Now more than ever, companies, big and small need to make their websites accessible. This may be because it is commercially important (a significant percentage of the population is partially sighted, has learning disabilities and experiences problems with websites) or because it is an obligation under law or, simply because it is the right thing to do.
    FACT1: 2 million people in the UK have a sight problem
    FACT2: 8-10% of the population have a disability of some sort as related to surfing websites
    FACT3: 8.6-million disabled people in UK have a combined spending power of £50-billion
    FACT4: 58% of visitors never visit a webstie again if they face any difficulty
This essentially forces companies to (re)designed their websites so as to be accessible to everyone in the community including the disabled (previously, special needs). And, most companies have seldom made provisions for such adherence in their design. Sad but true. Thus they are in direct breach of the law and are at a high risk of litigation as it is already the case in US and Australia.
With the legal, business and social value in sight, companies that wish to achieve compliance have only a couple of options. One, they can rip their websites all out, optionally hand them over to accessibility designers/consultants and start again with a cleaner, simpler site. Two, they can set up separate accessible pages for the entire website.
Either way, companies lose the visual effects, design and branding their customers have come to expect and into which a large amount of effort and thought (and money!) has already gone into over the years. Further, it is just too time-consuming and an exercise in futility to keep up with all the rewrite as they struggle under the burden of keeping pages in sync and meet DDA compliance at the same time. Importantly, all this comes at a cost to their resources and freedom.
Inspite of all this, achieving accessibility has no significant benefit to the company other than the being able to put a small logo at the bottom of their website because of the simple reason that it most certainly has no tangible visibility to their visitors. Disruptive renovation for nothing.
Visitors still see a plain vanilla website and are crippled to exploit it in any way unless they are rich or technologically adept enough to grapple with all the browser-side software that promise to utilize such accessible websites.

In other words, making websites accessible is still a major pain to companies that needs an express innovative solution. AccessXP is the panacea!

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