Winners announced for Technology4Good Awards 2012

The winners of this year's Technology4Good Awards were announced at an Awards Ceremony held in London on 6 July. Over 250 entries were whittled down to just eight winners by a panel of judges form business and charity and the results were announced by broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup. The Awards are run by AbilityNet and BT to celebrate the hard work of people who use computers and the internet to make the world a better place.

And the winners are:

  • AbilityNet Excellence in Accessibility Award Professor Stephen Hawking
  • Accessibility Award LexAble
  • BT Get IT Together Award Preston City Council/CitizenZone
  • Community Impact Award The Stroke Survivors Group
  • Community News Award Radio Free Brighton
  • Digital Fundraising Award Child’s i Foundation
  • Innovation Award Action Aid
  • IT Volunteer of the Year Award Alison Crerar
  • Working Together Award Social Care Institute for Excellence
  • Winner of Winners Award Child’s i Foundation

A very special part of the evening came when Professor Stephen Hawking was awarded the AbilityNet Excellence in Accessibility Award. Although not able to attend in person he sent a special message that underlined the positive role that technology can play in the lives of disabled people.

The Technology4Good Youtube channel provides a glimpse of what happened at the event - including the message sent by Professor Hawking. The channel also features interviews with many of the 200 people who attended.

More information the Technology4Good Awards website at www.technology4goodawards.org.uk

Price Comparison Websites

enation logoIn this difficult financial climate price comparison sites play a significant role in making sure consumers get the possible deal. This is especially important for people with disabilities who often have less disposable income than others.

Accessibility is the final frontier at ND2012

Robin Christopherson dressed as Spock at ND2012AbilityNet's Head of Digital Inclusion, Robin Christopherson, dressed as Spock to bring accessibility to life at ND2012, the National Digital Inclusion conference that took place in late May. Robin's highly popular speech showed how the future has already arrived for many disabled people as he demonstrated how his smartphone can tell him where he is, remind him of appointments, answer spoken questions and even tell him what money he's holding.

Abilitynet was hosting an Accessibility Zone at the event, which attracted over 1,000 people to Old Billingsgate Market in central London. The Zone provided a chance to speak to experts about all aspects of accessibility and was run in conjunction with partners that included MicroLink, Clear Company, iT4Communities, IT Can Help and RNIB.

As well as his appearance on the main stage Robin was also one half of a Star Trek duo with Mark 'Captain Kirk' Walker, AbilityNet's Marketing Manager. Between them they ran a very successful Accessibility Quiz at various times during the two days in which conference-goers were challenged to answer a mixture of fun and serious questions.

Picture is by MattMitchell101 on Flickr.

Technology4Good Awards 2012: Shortlists announced

Having started with over 200 entries, 26 finalists have been shortlisted for this year's Technology4Good Awards, which are run by AbilityNet, BT and a host of leading business and not for profit partners. A panel of judges from the worlds of business, technology and charity will now be chose winners in eight categories, who will be announced at an Awards Ceremony hosted by Mariella Frostrup in London on 6 July.

technology4good awards logoNigel Lewis, AbilityNet's CEO, says that the high quality of the entries is matched by the diversity of organisations and individuals who have been selected. "We have multi-national companies like BSkyB and Panasonic alongside very small volunteer-only self-help groups and even a hash tag that was used on Twitter to rally people to clean up their streets after the riots. This demonstrates the power of technology to do good and we're looking forward to celebrating and being inspired by the hard work of so many different people."

To view the shortlists and find out more about the Awards visit www.technology4goodawards.org.uk

Last chance to enter T4G Awards

technology4good awards logoEntries for this year's Technology4Good Awards close at midnight on Friday 18 May.

The Awards celebrate the hard work of the many people who use computers and the internet to make the world a better place. They are organised by AbilityNet and BT and sponsored by a range of businesses charities, including Barclaycard, Microsoft and UK online centres.

Entries are free and can be made in eight categories, including Community News, Accessibility and Digital Fundraising.

Visit the Technology4Good Awards website for more details and to submit your entry

Workplace Assessment Solutions

Can't Compare: Price comparison websites offer no choice for disabled people

Leading price comparison websites are letting down disabled and older people by ignoring basic web accessibility guidelines, according to e-accessibility expert, AbilityNet, in a report issued today.

Four of the five sites surveyed: www.comparethemarket.comwww.gocompare.com, www.mysupermarket.co.uk and www.confused.com, scored the minimum one star, whilstwww.kelkoo.co.uk managed a two star rating. Not one of the five sites achieved a three star rating required to indicate a base level of usability for those with disabilities.

AbilityNet’s State of the eNation surveys look at websites from the point of view of disabled and elderly users’ experience when using a range of services online. As well as a series of manual checks, the sites are tested using common adaptive technologies, such as screen readers and voice recognition software. Only sites which meet the needs of visitors with a vision impairment, dyslexia or physical problems, such as not being able to use a mouse, attain three stars or above.

The report’s author is Robin Christopherson, AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion, who is himself blind:

“Like everyone else in these hard times the country’s 12 million disabled people want to get the best deal when they’re shopping, whether that’s for insurance, groceries or anything else. But these cash strapped shoppers are losing out due to badly designed web pages that prevent them from shopping around and accessing the online bargains they need to make ends meet.”

And it’s not just the consumers who are losing out. Apart from the obvious moral argument for accessibility, the retailers linked to these sites won’t be happy about missing out on a market which represents a spending power of some £120 billion every year.

Christopherson concludes: ““The Law is clear on this issue. It is just as illegal to bar disabled visitors from accessing your goods and services online as it would be to keep them out of your shop in the ‘real world’”. Whilst no company would do this knowingly, as this report shows there are plenty of high profile sites that are contravening the Equality Act (2010) by not considering their disabled customers.””
 

Education software group achieves AbilityNet's Accessibility Accredited Plus Award

BTL Group logoBTL Group Ltd is delighted to announce that accessible e-Assessment content, created using the Surpass® Assessment Platform, has been awarded ‘Accredited Plus’ by the UK‘s leading pan-disability charity, AbilityNet. Achieving ‘Accredited Plus’ demonstrates that the Surpass® Assessment Platform can be used to create and deliver highly accessible e-Assessments.

Accessibility features in the Surpass® Platform include:

  • JAWS screen reader compatibility
  • Keyboard-only navigation
  • Colour preference options for dyslexic and visually impaired users
  • Additional time for candidates with special requirements
  • Alternative text descriptions for images

Accedited by AbilityNet logoHead of Digital Inclusion at Abilitynet, Robin Christopherson says, "It is very encouraging to see an organisation take accessibility as seriously as BTL and adopt such a clear sighted, pan-disability approach. We hope that by ensuring that their products can be used by everyone regardless of any impairment, BTL will help accessibility best practice become a benchmark industry-wide."

Paul Davis, Interaction Designer at BTL, states: "As an educational software provider we recognise our responsibility to create software that can be used by everyone regardless of disability. Working with AbilityNet has raised our understanding of the needs of disabled users and we aim to use this knowledge to ensure that all users have a positive and engaging experience with our software."

BTL has produced guidelines which detail how accessible content can be created using the Surpass® Assessment Platform. These guidelines will be made available to all users of the Surpass® Platform.

To view the accredited exemplar, please visit www.btl.com/surpass/accessibility.

 

Accessibility gets real with BT’s MyDonate

Please note: as of 30th June 2019 MyDonate has closed. Visit the BT website for information about the closure of MyDonate


It’s over a decade since website accessibility became a legal requirement and yet more than 90% still exclude disabled people. Yet having an accessible website is not just about legal and moral obligation, it also makes good business sense as BT has discovered with its new online fundraising service, MyDonate.

The value of a more inclusive approach underpins AbilityNet’s usability accreditation, which has been awarded to BT’s MyDonate - a fundraising and donations platform which gives 100% of all donations commission-free directly to your charity of choice.

The ‘User Accredited’ badge is a graphic certification that you are committed to all your customers and have taken the appropriate steps to facilitate full access for everyone irrespective of their disability or the adaptive technology they use.

MyDonate Charities Manager is Christine Poole: "The virtual world has the scope to be fully inclusive which we have demonstrated with a site that has been tested by real end-users with a broad range of disabilities."

"The great thing about real life accessibility testing is that we’ve been able to work through the accessibility needs of fundraisers and donors to provide a simple yet efficient service which is open to more users. Put plainly - a more accessible service equals more donors which equals more money to charities and good causes."

Research shows that an accessible site can deliver a 35% ‘usability bonus’ for every visitor - a factor which translates directly into competitive advantage and time efficiency for the provider. The truth is that accessible sites are simply easier and more intuitive to use: they improve productivity for everyone.

However, adhering to the Equality Act (2010) and the global ‘gold standard’ of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) is not just a ‘box ticking’ exercise. With 12 million disabled people in the UK, a further 6 million with dyslexia and many millions more with a literacy or learning difficulty (a quarter of the population has a reading age of 14 or less), accessibility could be an issue for nearly half your visitors.

Says AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion: "It is inspiring to see an organisation take accessibility as seriously as BT and adopt such a clear sighted, pan-disability approach. We hope that by ensuring that MyDonate can be used by everyone regardless of any impairment, BT will help accessibility best practice become a benchmark industry-wide."

The case for getting more disabled people online

Pages