Siteimprove Rides with the Blind for Improved Accessibility
Drawing attention to the issue of inaccessible websites, the Danish Association of the Blind and Siteimprove co-hosted the world’s largest tandem bike riding event for visually impaired and sighted people alike.
On May 21, which marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day, 100 members of the Danish Association of the Blind rode approximately two and half miles along a Copenhagen beach on tandem bikes. The blind and visually impaired each shared a bike with the other participants of the event, including U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford. The bike ride was held in collaboration with employees from the global, Danish-owned software company Siteimprove to show how much of a difference accessibility makes for the visually impaired.
“We would like for people to talk and learn about the inclusion of all citizens regardless of disability,” said Morten Ebbesen, CEO and Founder of Siteimprove, which provides solutions for quality and accessibility assurance of websites. Siteimprove’s mission is to give all users of the internet a better experience. This includes ensuring that websites can be accessed and used by everyone, regardless of disability.
“To us, accessibility is a human right, whether it relates to riding a bike or browsing the internet,” Ebbesen said.
Government websites do not follow global guidelines
Denmark is falling behind when it comes to digital accessibility. According to a study by Siteimprove, the websites of the central government violate approximately every third of the international guidelines for the most basic level of accessibility. The study had analyzed more than 84,000 single pages of 45 websites belonging to major Danish companies, media outlets, and central government authorities.
“As our public space is becoming increasingly digitized, it is urgent for web accessibility to become a human right, so that everyone have access to critical information,” said President of the Danish Association of the Blind, Thorkild Olesen, who during the tandem ride shared his bike with the Danish Minister of Finance, Bjarne Corydon.
“This recent study shows that several, basic mistakes are being made which excludes the visually impaired,” Olesen said. “We experience this in our daily activities, with frustration. When we are excluded from navigating online, we have to rely on help from sighted people in our digital lives.”
After the event, Siteimprove donated the 100 bikes to various blind tandem clubs and visually impaired people.