Useful Links

Useful links on accessibility

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The competition

What? This is a crazy thing to do. A new fledgling accessibility company like XSIBL telling its users about the competition? And praising them? Do XSIBL have no business sense at all?

Au contraire.

I know you need to get quotes from other companies, and I have listed here the four best alternatives to XSIBL. They are far bigger of course, and well-established. And if you choose to go with them I will be delighted. Because, while I would love your custom of course, my biggest aim is that the Internet becomes accessible to people with disabilities, irrespective of what company you use to audit your website. And I have done the legwork for you and listed the four main players. I know them, the world of website accessibility auditors is a friendly place, and we have mutual respect for one another. We want us all to succeed. They have not asked me to list them on our website, I am doing it because the main priority for me is that you make your website inclusive, even if it means you have gone to the competition. There are no enemies in our world, we are all friends, trying to make the world a better place. If you choose XSIBL, I'll be delighted. If you choose one of my competitors, I'll still be delighted. If you choose no one, I will be very disappointed. It's about doing the right thing.

Online Annual Reports and Accounts

Annual Reports. Having spent ten years working for the corporate communications team at Legal & General, one of the biggest companies in the UK, and indeed the tenth largest investment firm in the world by assets under management, I know how important they are to you. They are your yearly showcase to the world, to your shareholders, to your investors, about what a great year you have. These days, fewer and fewer shareholders opt in to receive the glossy expensive tome in paper format, which is great for the environment and great for you - they cost a lot to print and send. Which is why the online annual report is so important.

There's lots of different types of online annual report out there. Many companies just do a "fast read" version, and then provide a PDF for people to read on screen - a format that is rarely accessible (none of the companies in the FTSE 100 currently provide a PDF of their annual report that is fully AA compliant). And is certainly not so searchable!

Some companies create a "hybrid" report, essentially a full HTML version of the "front half" of the report, but cut corners by having the "back half" (the figures) available in PDF format only. Again, bad for accessibility.

The agency you use to create your annual report is, probably, suggesting that you do not need to go full HTML, that it will be expensive, that no one is doing it any more. They want to produce just a groovy "fast read" and spend your money on the paper/PDF version, which is crazy since most people read your report on their computer or tablet, and HTML would be the natural bedfellow for this. But, most importantly, as long as it is coded well, HTML is the most accessible format.

For me, there is only one company out there that can truly deliver quality, AA compliant, full HTML reports of both the front and back halves of your report, including all the important tables that surely you want your disabled customers to understand as well. That company is not in the UK, but in Austria, and they are called nexxar.

They are a lovely team to work for and they only do online annual reports. And if you ask them to create an accessible report, I can trust them that they will pass all the tests. The last full HTML online annual report they did for Legal & General was the 2014 report which you can see here. We won so many awards between 2007 and 2014 for our clear and accessible designs. I would not hesitate for one minute in recommending them. They are darlings to work with.


Resources

OK, so now the company recommendations are finished, here's a list of some useful links which will help you understand more about accessibility. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like more specific information.

  • Website linkwww.accessibilityassociation.org The International Association of Accessibility Professionals, of which I am a proud member. Non-members can access the Accessibility News newsletter (in the resources section) which is great reading.
  • Website linkadod.idrc.ocad.ca/ It's not just HTML than needs to be accessible; PDFs, Word and other documents need to be accessible also! Loads of info on creating accessible office documents here. Great templates and examples of best practice.
  • Website linkaccess.ecs.soton.ac.uk Headed up by one of my former mentors Mrs E.A.Draffan, the ECS Accessibility Team website at the University of Southampton is a hive of information.
  • Website linkaccessibility.blog.gov.uk/ The UK Government's own blog on accessibility. A few interesting posts though it seems to have quietened down recently.
  • Website linkwww.w3.org/TR/WCAG21 These are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, commonly known as WCAG 2.1, which explains all the criteria for making an accessible website. It's our bible. The guidelines were updated from 2.0 in 2018.
  • Website linkwww.webaim.org WebAIM is a great website with information about accessibility, downloadable tools and interesting articles.
  • This list will grow exponentially over the coming months. Feel free to suggest any fantastic links - Get in touch at any time!

    find out more about Tristán White and XSIBL !
    the 2010 Equalities Act, WCAG 2.1 and the law
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