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Sion Simon responds: how will Disabled + Deaf people get full access to the web?

08/10/2009

Pesky People posed a question to Sion Simon the MP and Creative Industries Minister via the online site Yoosk.com – which describes itself as an ‘interactive global citizen’s news and gossip co-zine-collaborative magazine’.

We asked:

“What will you be doing to ensure digital inequalities are addressed?

Specifically how you will ensure that the WAG 2.0 guidelines are met in the

creation of digital content and what standards will be agreed that ensures

Disabled and Deaf people have full access and are not excluded as we currently are.”

Sion was asked this question by Jonathan Walker of the Birmingham Post. Since then Sion has also agreed to meet us to discuss the issue further.


Sion’s reply includes an explanation of the WAG guidelines (as prompted by Jonathan). He raises a crucial point that websites are only as good as the people who deliver them. So when people in a department are passionate to ensure good access and move on – what happens when they are replaced? It needs commitment from everyone linked to web development to make sites accessible.


We are hopeful at the promise that new egovernment guidelines will be put into place soon – so will keep an eye on that! In the meantime it seems government websites don’t need to complie with any guidelines at present – is this right?


Our question is the only video out of 198 on Yoosk.com to be subtitled. It took some persuading on my part to achieve this. Yoosk use video as their main medium of documenting replies and a Deaf/hard of hearing person has no access to any of their content – including me.


When I met Keith Halstead on Saturday he agreed to subtitle it (it had been online since 30 September). He was great and did this the next day – this is despite not having the finances to ensure all their videos are accessible. This is a problem for many sites – a dedicated team with limited resources.


Yoosk’s latest blog gives a great mention – click here to read.


So what are the digital funders like 4iP doing to make sure digital projects they support make their websites accessible and provide the financial means to do it? Nowt it seems – so what’s the point of digital inclusion?

So what do you think of Sion’s response? Let Yoosk.com know too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Keith permalink
    08/10/2009 22:48

    I thought Sion gave a good answer to the question as put to him. I don’t see why you are implicitly criticising him for being able to explain WAG2.0 – that’s what he was asked to do! The point about broadband universal access was good one, and he certainly seems to know what he is talking about.

  2. 24/10/2009 12:06

    I updated the post in response to Keith’s comment as he made me aware that it read as if I was being critical of Sion which I wasn’t intending to be.

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