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On 19th May 2004, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design’s User-Lab http://www.biad.uce.ac.uk/research/userlabSite/user.html will host a Web Accessibility Training event.

User-Lab is the leading user-centred design centre in The West Midlands. The lab hosts events and training aimed at digital media managers, designers and developers. User-Lab is providing Web Accessibility Training in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) http://www.rnib.org.uk/ and ECOTEC Research & Consulting http://www.ecotec.com. The training will be of particular interest to health, local authorities, education and other public sector organisations.

The training event will feature a session outlining practical techniques to improve accessibility based on the RNIB’s Campaign for Good Web Design and the Web Accessibility Initiative’s (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) http://www.w3.org/WAI/. The WAI was established in 1997 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to pursue and promote the accessibility of the Web through technology, guidelines and research.

In October 2001 the government amended the Disabilities Discrimination Act
(DDA) http://www.disability.gov.uk/dda/ to oblige all service providers to take reasonable steps to change any practice which makes it ‘impossible or unreasonably difficult’ for disabled persons to make use of a service provided via the Web. This legislation affects private and public sector alike. In education, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) http://www.ukcle.ac.uk/directions/issue4/senda.html has been introduced to include educational establishments that were previously exempt from the DDA.

In March the Disability Rights Commission http://www.drc-gb.org announced a formal Investigation in Web accessibility. ‘One thousand websites will be investigated for their ability to be accessed by Britain’s 8.5 million disabled people in the Disability Rights Commission’s (DRC) first Formal Investigation, it was announced today’. ‘The investigation will break new ground in its breadth and depth. 1,000 web sites spanning the public and private sectors will be tested for basic compliance with recognised industry accessibility standards.

In addition, 50 disabled people will be involved in in-depth testing of a representative sample of these sites for practical usability. This work will help clarify the relationship between a site’s compliance with standards and its practical usability for disabled people’. The training will provide tangible benefits for delegates:

- Learn about Web accessibility
- Develop skills and practical techniques to help make Web sites accessible
- Discover how to implement accessibility guidelines appropriately and effectively
- Evaluate sites’ compliance with accessibility guidelines using tools provided in a delegate pack
- Understand the limitations of accessibility guidelines
- Gain expert feedback on delegates’ Web sites in terms of accessibility and usability
- Share experiences and best practice with other delegates and trainers

Feedback from web accessibility training 2

Relevance to your work 78%
Acquisition of new knowledge 66%
Usefulness of information 75%
Expectations met 66%

‘In practical terms, it will change the way I code pages’

‘The friendliness and approachability of all those involved was noted and I am grateful for that’

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----Notes to editors----

Web Accessibility Training costs £200.00 including VAT. Book early to avoid
disappointment. Contact John Knight on 0121 331 7870 or visit
http://www.uce.ac.uk/web2/releases/3440.html

About User-Lab:
http://www.biad.uce.ac.uk/research/userlabSite/user.html

User-Lab is a non-profit making organisation based at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design http://www.biad.uce.ac.uk/. The lab is part of the Institute’s Research Department and is staffed by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in digital media design, human-computer interaction, psychology and software engineering.

The lab comprises three purpose built testing and design labs that are equipped with the latest technology for conducting behavioural, physiological and psychological research.
The lab has two related functions: to carry out research into the digital experience and, based on the results of this work, to develop an innovative commercial service.

In the two years since its inception, the lab has been involved in a number of collaborative projects with RDAs, FEs, charities and the public and private sector. The outcomes of these projects range from assisting start up businesses to training, as well as the lab’s core business of user-centred design services.

ECOTEC Research & Consulting Ltd. http://www.ecotec.com is a major international research and consulting company, providing research, consulting and communications services to the public and private sectors. One of ECOTEC’s core strengths lies in its capacity to combine high quality Web design and development with a detailed understanding of the contemporary public policy environment. ECOTEC offers its clients a full range of Web services including design and development, usability, accessibility and needs analysis, maintenance and hosting, scoping and feasibility studies, and evaluation and advice. Recent clients have included several Directorates General of the European Commission, Regional Development Agencies, Regional Assemblies, Voluntary Sector Associations and Local Authorities.

----Contact----
Elemental PR:

Rachel Hawkes, Account Executive, Elemental PR
Email: online@elementalpr.co.uk

Direct Telephone: +44 (0)870 745 9292, Mobile: +44 (0)7930 375663,
Fax: +44 (0)870 745 9293, Website: http://www.elementalpr.co.uk

Address: Second Floor, 145 -157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PY, England, UK

Published on: 12:00AM on 21st April 2004