Some of you might remember that I posted an entry back in March about website accessibility and a motion I was raising in the Student General Meeting (SGM) at university. Essentially, the motion was designed to push the Students’ Union and the university to improve the accessibility of their various websites.
The first attempt at raising the motion was cancelled due to some last minute problems, but this evening it was heard at the SGM. After a bit of debate about a badly worded point (despite numerous people proof reading it, I’d made a mistake, doh!), the motion was passed.
This isn’t the end of my aim of making the sites more accessible, this motion will be followed up by an article in Monday’s Waterfront newspaper – written by Charlie Duff and supported by Discovery – the disability support charity operating in the university. I’ll post more about that as soon as it is released.
I’ve copied in the motion text below for anyone who is interested.
The Union Notes that:
- There are 2 million people with sight problems in the UK (Source: RNIB 2007)
- Sight problems and motor problems can both cause difficulties in using websites
- The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 makes it a legal requirement for all websites to be accessible by October 1999
- The Internet standards body – W3C – runs a website accessibility initiative that provides 3 levels of accessibility – A, AA and AAA.
- The RNIB recommends that websites should aim for the ‘AA’ standard
- Many university departments make use of websites such as Blackboard for providing course documents and submitting assignments
The Union Believes that:
- The Students’ Union website at www.swansea-union.co.uk does not comply with any of the three levels of accessibility
- Other SU websites such as the Summer Ball 2007 website also do not comply with these standards
- Swansea University websites such as Blackboard and Voyager do not comply with these standards
- Failing to comply with these standards makes university life difficult for disabled students
- Owners of websites that do not comply are open to legal action under the DDA
The Union Resolves to:
- Ensure its website(s) comply with all UK laws regarding Website Accessibility to at least ‘AA’ standard
- Lobby the University to maintain and improve the accessibility of its website
- Lobby the University to ensure services such as Voyager, Blackboard and the Intranet comply with a minimum of ‘AA’ standard