Digital design agency Fortune Cookie and financial services provider Legal & General are the stars of a new short film produced to alert decision-makers in local and central government departments to the importance of ensuring their organisations’ websites are accessible to the UK’s 8 million disabled people.

‘A World Denied’ – produced by The Society for IT Management (Socitm) and disability and technology charity AbilityNet - features an interview with Fortune Cookie’s Director of Accessibility, Julie Howell. In the 12-minute film, Julie describes the many business benefits of creating websites following accessibility principles.

Julie Howell said, ‘I was really pleased to participate in the making of this film. While there has definitely been a ‘sea change’ in web designers’ attitude towards web accessibility we need to do more to boost key influencers’ understanding of why the needs of disabled people should be paramount when a website is commissioned. The 1995 Disability Discrimination Act has placed a legal duty on service providers that protect the rights of disabled people. Inaccessible websites needlessly exclude millions of disabled people and it is time that this form of unfair treatment was stamped out for good.’

A key highlight of the film is a case study that describes how one Fortune Cookie client – the financial services provider Legal & General – has boosted conversion rates and achieved outstanding return-on-investment through accessible design:

- Online traffic surged, with a 50% increase in natural search engine listings
- The number of visitors receiving quotes doubled within three months
- Conversion rates increased by 300%
- Site maintenance costs are down by 66%
- The entire project delivered 100% return on investment within 12 months

Legal & General and Fortune Cookie have won a clutch of awards for demonstrating that accessibility, innovation, usability and design can all work in harmony to produce stunning results for both the client and their customers, including two Communicators in Business Awards of Excellence.

Other web accessibility experts featured in the film include:

- Dame Jane Campbell DBE – Disability Rights Commissioners
- James Roper – CEO Interactive Media in Retail Group
- Robin Allen QC – Head of Chambers, Cloisters
- Anne McGuire – Minister for Disabled People.

‘A World Denied’ is available on DVD priced £50 (free to Socitm members, £25 for not-for-profit organisations). To order, contact insight@socitm.gov.uk.

View the trailer at http://www.socitm.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/8B648F2B-B602-4224-8DA9-FD70BD822CAE/0/Aworlddeniedvideo.wmv

Published on: 12:00AM on 6th September 2007