Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design is celebrating 20 years ensuring equal access for disabled people
Published: April 12, 2023
This year is the 20th birthday of my business, Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design.
Here is the press release I put together with Rebecca Appleton of Dakota Digital. Forgive my hyperbole – but 20 years of helping to ensure equal access for disabled people to digital content is definitely worth celebrating.
Multi Award-Winning Accessible Website Design Business Celebrates 20th Years At The Top
Jim Byrne, a pioneer of equal access to websites and digital content for disabled people, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Accessible Website Design & Accessibility Auditing business – and remains as passionate about his mission today as he was on day one.
Jim first realised the importance of digital access for disabled people in the 90s, and that realisation forever changed his career path. In 1996 he founded one of the UK’s first web accessibility consultancies and was a founding member of the Guild of Accessible Web Designers (GAWDS). As the director of GAWDS, he gave feedback on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2) which are now used by governments around the world.
“Equal access to websites and digital content for everyone is still my focus,” Jim says. “Lack of accessibility is a form of discrimination against disabled people. It was unacceptable back when I started and, with so many services and resources almost exclusively available online, it is unacceptable now.”
The importance of digital accessibility has grown since Jim Byrne began his work and UK law has changed to reflect this. Under the Equality Act of 2010, website owners are obliged to ensure that their websites are accessible to all users. To help with this, Jim’s business offers a WCAG 2 accessibility auditing service to check whether websites comply with the law. Additionally, he offers an accessible website design service and accessibility training for website designers.
Ralph Mackenzie, Front-End Website Designer/Developer for the University of Strathclyde, said, “Jim provided us with auditing and training services to help the University’s websites and applications meet new government regulations on digital accessibility. His reports were extremely thorough and have provided an excellent basis for the University to offer better services to students, staff and the public.
“The training offered gave our staff an excellent insight into designing and developing for users with special requirements, and we look forward to providing an accessible digital experience to all users thanks to Jim’s help and expertise.”
Through its two decades of activity, Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design & Accessibility Auditing has received several awards – including the Global Bangemann Award, presented by the King of Sweden himself.
Case Study: A New Website for British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA)
Published: August 8, 2014
The British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA) needed a website to provide a ‘one stop shop of information and advice’ for disabled and non-disabled anglers. The BDDA provide individual and group coaching, a fisheries directory and access audits of fisheries among other services.
The old site was cluttered and difficult to use, so before starting design work we spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how to best serve the needs of current and potential members. This resulted in a clear, clean layout and a very simple navigation scheme.
The site made use of the hundreds of existing BDDA photographs; to give a friendly, ‘human’ feel to each page. We also subtly redesigned the logo to fit with the new template design.
The redesign incorporated new features such as the mailing list, the accessibility toolbar and a feature for collecting donations.
Thank you. Such small words to express the meaning of what you have achieved for us. Our charity scoured the myriad of adverts offering accessible website designs; but which one, at what cost, a series of never ending questions, search after search.
One name Jim Byrne kept appearing, not in the form of advertisement and promises, but praise for the work he does in development, design and tutorials on accessible website design.
We are so pleased that we followed what everyone else was recommending Jim Byrne – Accessible Web Design" our new website is a landmark for us, and an example to angling clubs, businesses and local authorities who encourage disabled visitors to their website.
Jim, you are not only professional in what you do, but offer friendly and constructive advice and patience throughout the build. Thank you simply isn’t enough.
British Disabled Angling Association
I was also very pleased to get the following email from Terry:
We all realise the amount of work that you have dedicated to this project, and the barrage of emails that arrive daily to your inbox from me, you must have the "patience of Job". On behalf of the trustees I would like to offer our sincere thanks for all the hard work and support for the charity.
Working with non-profits, charities, voluntary and public sector organisations and social enterprises for over 20 years. Jim set up one of the worlds first website accessibility web agencies in the mid 1990s. Get in touch today to take advantage of unrivalled experience and skills in the area of accessible website design and WCAG 2 auditing. A website designer based in Glasgow but with clients all over the UK.
Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design – A winner of many national and international awards including:
Winner – Best Charitable Website Design Specialist 2019
Accessible website design awards
Best Web Design Agency, Scottish Lowlands, Corporate Vision MarTech Awards 2022.
Winner of ‘Best Charitable Website Design Specialist 2019’.
Winner of the Global Bangemann Award in 1999
Breakthrough Award for The Lothian Centre For Independent Living online help service.
Jim provided us with auditing and training services to help the University’s websites and applications meet new government regulations on digital accessibility. His reports were extremely thorough, and have provided an excellent basis for the University to offer better services to students, staff and the public. The training offered gave our staff an excellent insight into designing and developing for users with special requirements, and we look forward to providing an accessible digital experience to all users thanks to Jim’s help and expertise. Ralph Mackenzie, Front-End Website Designer/Developer, University of Strathclyde
Website Accessibility Auditing – WCAG 2 Checks
A website access audit checks that your website is accessible to disabled people (a legal requirement outlined in the Equality Act 2010). Our website auditors are the most experience and skilled in the UK; we will check your site against the WCAG 2.0 guidelines and check that your site is compliant with the BS8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice. Our audits go way beyond tick box checks; they check that your site is accessible and will be usable to the real people who visit your site.
Document accessibility compliance (PDF, Doc) It is also a legal requirement that the Word and PDF documents you provide via your website are accessible. Contact us today to take advantage of our unique expertise in this area.
This training is suitable for people who work in the public sector or private sector, e.g., Local councils, education, the voluntary sector organisations, charities and corporates. If you would like to create standards-compliant accessible web pages this is the course for you.
You will learn both the techniques of accessible website design and an entire ‘framework for thinking about the subject’. It will equip you with the skills to understand, identify and fix issues any accessibility issues you come across. Watch the free videos to get a taste of what is on the course.