WiderWeb promises accessible net

Sorts wheat from chaff for surfing joy

Moore Innovations has launched WiderWeb, a DTI-backed web accessibility tool that can transcode a website into a more accessible format, in real time.

Web accessibility is something of a controversial issue among Reg readers, with the severity of complaints running across the full spectrum: everything from the everyday annoyance of a particular site not supporting your preferred browser or the irritation of Flash designs, through to a site being totally unusable for a websurfer with poor eyesight, for example.

In the UK, the Disability Discrimination Act requires that all websites be made accessible to people with disabilities, in accordance with W3C deployment guidelines. Ed Moore argues that many people are totally unaware of these rules, others don't have the time or money to comply, and still others just find it all a bit confusing. Whatever the reason, compliance is generally poor.

There are two versions of the product available, one for enterprise scale organisations and one for smaller webhosters. The first is a fully managed service that can be customised, and is run by Moore Innovations. The second is a simplified version which webhosters can resell to individual site owners, and involves adding a button to the home page that says: "Click here for an accessible version".

The button directs page requests through WiderWeb's gateway. WiderWeb then requests a page on the user's behalf and translates it into an accessible version. Subsequent page requests in the session are automatically directed through the gateway.

"Only the entity that runs the service has the responsibility to be accessible. If you as a site owner want to be accessible but you use a content management system that won't have the hooks in place for 12 months then what can you do? Website owners just pay a monthly fee, we enable their site on the gateway and they can then provide a link back themselves through it," says Ed Moore, MD of moore Innovations.

WiderWeb features include tTidying code to XHTML, ALT tag insert, frame removal and a user selectable presentation format overlay. It also removes Javascript from the client and runs it at WiderWeb. Still, nothing is perfect and WiderWeb can't handle Flash very well, but then, who can? ®

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