Telco Web Accessibility

Telco Web Accessibility

In 2021, the Centre For Accessibility (CFA) Australia undertook research to improve the accessibility of websites and apps provided by the telecommunications sector. The outcome in report form is the sum of Telstra, Optus, Belong, Amaysim and Vodafone individual audits and considers the digital accessibility of their consumer-based website and app content.

Led by CEO and researcher Dr Scott Hollier, the CFA partnered with the telco’s to improve their service, recognising that accessibility is a journey not a destination and that pathways to accessibility require ongoing support to identify and shift problems. Whilst there was room for improvement with all the telcos there was also a widespread recognition that all stakeholders were engaged in transforming the way their services are offered.  The good news story is that there is plenty of good work to highlight alongside the telco’s commitment towards improving  digital accessibility.

“Around 20% of Australians have a disability so it is in the telco’s best interests to meet consumer needs in a tight market”.

This project was developed in response to consumers with disability contacting the Centre for Accessibility to say they found it hard to access some information about things like data usage, plan options and billing information.  Through the grant from ACCAN it is exciting to see improvements already in the sector. The enthusiasm from all telco’s works together to make real differences for people with disabilities, in turn improving the overall service provision for all Australians.

The report was released on Global Accessibility Awareness Day via the Centre for Accessiblity website.

The report is available at Policy and Research - Centre For Accessibility Australia

Note for OZeWAI members from the CFAA

From an OZeWAI perspective, you may be interested in highlighting the actual percentage of WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliance which is contained inside the report, but overall we’ve focused more on the fact that all websites need some improvement, Issues that Telcos were generally aware of but fell through the cracks include alternative text on images, use of colour to indicate a change, skip to content links and language declaration, so these are more about processes than a lack of awareness. Larger issues where there does not appear to be as much awareness include colour contrast issues, navigation structure, link purpose issues (i.e. links and buttons not being descriptive enough) and code validation issues. Also billing information that is locked in a PDF and not available elsewhere is a problem.
The final part of the project was to run a workshop for people in the industry which had 81 participants, and we’ve already seen improvements as a result. Amaysim even created a new accessibility statement with guidance on how to get in touch if people have digital access issues which is great.

Additional information