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Australian Web Accessibility Reviews Open To All

An online forum allowing anyone to become involved in accessibility reviews of major government and corporate websites has been launched in Australia.

No technical or specialist knowledge is needed to participate in the Australian Web Access Review (AWARe:
http://www.aware.org.au/ ),
which asks volunteers to evaluate the accessibility of prominent Australian websites by answering 13 questions, based around WCAG 2.0 (the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

Set up by Media Access Australia (MAA:
http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/ ),
a not-for-profit organisation that provides information on technology access issues, AWARe posts review results on its website, which are then used to drive change within industry and government. MAA say it will “actively pursue websites highlighted as inaccessible by AWARe reviews”.

MAA new media manager Scott Hollier told E-Access Bulletin that AWARe provides a way for anybody to comment on website accessibility. “In the past this has been difficult due to the technical nature of accessibility audits, the cost involved in obtaining an audit or the fear of trying to approach a large organisation with an inaccessible website. AWARe addresses these concerns by giving people who face accessibility issues the opportunity to directly review them online, and discuss the issues in the forums”, he said.

Although the forum only reviews Australian websites, anyone from any country can participate in AWARe, which has already reviewed five government websites, including a disability services site, Centrelink (rated as only “somewhat accessible”); a flu pandemic information site; and a digital TV switchover site.

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