Web accessibility is not improving very quickly despite the efforts of many experts. The scale of the problem is huge and there is a need for culture change amongst web developers and website owners. Our solution is to make it super easy for people facing accessibility issues (such as many disabled and older people) to report problems with websites. Volunteers do the work of contacting the website owners and signposting them to support. In doing this work, volunteers will understand more about e-accessibility for themselves, as well as giving crucial information to website owners. Everybody wins! Details of how the process works are explained for the different roles (volunteering and issue reporter) and in the FAQs.
You can get involved in three different ways:
- Report issues you are having with websites.
- Volunteer to help liaise with website owners.
- Support the development of the project: contact the coordinator.
Reporting and volunteering are different "roles" within the Fix the Web process. We ask that reporters are disabled or older people facing web accessibility issues. Anyone can be a volunteer (we suggest you have reasonable tech skills) and this includes disabled and older people themselves. You may even want to take your own report forwards as a volunteer, making use of the sense of collective in Fix the Web, you are very welcome to do this.
Benefits of a volunteer led process:
- Complaining could happen on a much bigger scale
- Volunteers can offer support to make the web a better place, in their own time and online
- It's an easier process for disabled people
- The volunteers enhance their own knowledge and skills
- Website owners get feedback they can work with or use to justify changes to budget holders
- Web accessibility experts get more business
- Disabled people don't have to keep fighting their own corner
- It is clearer what the key issues are: there is a kind of mass user testing in place.
What we want to achieve and why
We want to get 250,000 websites reported over the next 2 years. That will need about 10,000 volunteers signed up and many hundreds of active reporters. We believe this will change the culture of the Web. We are UK focussed for now (though everyone is welcome) and we would want to extend our global reach if this process works. In the UK alone, 6 million web users are excluded to some extent from 80% of websites. It is infuriating at times for disabled users. 30.4% of a blind person's time is wasted on-line dealing with access issues. Disabled people, if they had the energy and time to take this issue on (and report all the issues they face) may be excluded even from the complaining process (for example by the use of captchas). That's why we want to make it super-easy for disabled people to report and let volunteers take the issues forwards.