Contacting an organisation to explain why you find their website difficult to use, can seem a bit daunting. Who should you talk to? What should you say? How should you approach it?
Contacting Organisations About Inaccessible Websites is a splendid new resource from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
People who are familiar with web accessibility will have no trouble contacting an organisation. They’ll happily get up close and technical with anyone they can find.
If that isn’t you though, don’t worry. Contacting Organisations About Inaccessible Websites has everything you need. Here’s what it has to say about why feedback is important:
Your feedback to an organization can help improve the accessibility of websites for you and many other people who use the websites. Website owners have many priorities for changes and improvements, and the more an organization hears about accessibility from people who use their website, the more likely it is that accessibility will become a higher priority.
With that in mind, the document goes on to give practical advice on the following topics:
- Considering your approach.
- Identifying key contacts.
- Describing the problem.
- Including sources for more information.
- Requesting a reply.
- Following up as needed.
If you’re still feeling a little cautious, an email template is provided. Some example emails are also included, to give you an idea of how to go about things.
There’s one further piece of advice in the document. Actually, I think it’s the most important piece of advice of all, so I’m going to repeat it here:
Consider also contacting organizations that do a good job of making their websites accessible and easy to use by people with disabilities and older users, to acknowledge and encourage their efforts.
Sometimes, the accessibility of a website is due to the organisation’s policy. More often, it’s down to a small band of accessibility champions making the case as best they can. In either case, receiving positive feedback can only re-enforce the message and encourage them to keep building in accessibility.