LBI works on new accessible website for BT

LBI is designing a new accessibility website for BT. The telecoms company is understood to have appointed LBI, with which it has worked forabout ten years, without a formal pitch.

The site will attempt to answer BT’s brief to ’make accessibility a sexy part of the BT brand, to reach out to as wide an audience as possible,and to show that its values go very much to the heart of the community’, says LBI user experience director Stephen Barber. Currently, BT has two accessibility websites – Inclusive Communications and BT Sign – that LBI says duplicate content.

The consultancy’s solution is to create one website, BT Accessibility, prominently placed with its own tab on the global header of the main site. ’A lot of websites put the accessibility offer in the footer,’ says Barber.

During research, LBI found that accessibility issues affect about 20 million people in the UK, ’including many who don’t think of themselves as classically disabled, making it a very broad audience for the website’, says Barber. Investigating specialist disability websites and those of blue chip companies including Microsoft, Apple and Sky, LBI concluded that the BT Accessibility site should have a ’positive, upbeat, inclusive’ tone of voice, and that ’we could do a better job than most of the corporate world in providing accessibility’, says Barber.

The new site will be customisable to the needs of each user, offering preferences like having the text read out or, for deaf users, viewing the site in British Sign Language. ’We want to talk in terms of needs, not disabilities,’ says Barber.

Liz Williams, head of social responsibility and consumer affairs at BT, says she hopes the site will go live by the end of the summer, although there is no fixed date for its launch.

BT accessibility

  • BT’s new accessibility website will allow users to: have the site read to them; view the site with British Sign Language, which some users consider their first language; authorise account queries without using the phone
  • It will be image heavy, use high contrast for legibility, be simple, use inclusive language like ’us’ and ’you’, and use content curators from the BT online community to select personal stories for the site

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