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A detailed review of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival websites shows that disabled visitors will not be able to purchase tickets online. There are also many usability problems that make the purchase process difficult for everyone.

Many people with disabilities use technologies such as screen readers to navigate websites, however very few websites have been created that allow these technologies to work effectively with them.

Leading Usability and Accessibility consultancy, User Vision, have reviewed these two sites to identify how easy they are for people with disabilities to use and have found that purchasing a ticket for an event would be very difficult if not impossible for those using assistive technologies. Moreover, both sites would fail the most basic level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines standards (level ‘A’).

Chris Rourke, Director of User Vision, says “While many festival venues have made improvements to the physical access for disabled patrons, the websites for buying tickets have obstacles that prevent many disabled users from purchasing.” User Vision have worked with many blue chip organisations such as Dell Computers, HSBC Bank and public organisations such as the Department of Trade & Industry and the Government’s Office of the e-Envoy (recently renamed the e-Government Unit). Rourke goes on to say “Many of our clients have found tremendous benefits from improving their site for those with disabilities, in particular that the sites become even more user-friendly for all visitors.”

A full report on the two Edinburgh festival sites can be found on the User Vision website (www.uservision.co.uk).

• User Vision Ltd (www.uservision.co.uk) is one of the UK’s leading usability consultancies dedicated to improving the user experience through usability testing, expert evaluations, and consultancy, for many of the UK’s blue chip organisations and public sector bodies. User Vision was founded in Edinburgh in 2000 and is dedicated to making the user’s experience better.

• User Vision clients include Scottish Enterprise, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life, NHS Health Scotland, Dell Computers, Office of the e-Envoy, Pfizer, HSBC Bank and many others.

Emma Kirk, Strategic Consultant, User Vision
Tel: 0131 220 8213 Email: emma@uservision.co.uk

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