Football is now a huge online market, with every professional club, and many amateur ones, now having their own websites.
Football supporters are often passionate about their teams and many go online religiously to read about club and player news. They also want to be able to buy tickets and merchandise like replica kits via their team’s website.
But how can disabled supporters enjoy these benefits if a football club’s website is inaccessible?
Unfortunately, it’s an issue that many disabled football supporters have to deal with, but football clubs can put the work in to make their websites accessible to as many people as possible.
For example, clubs can build their websites and other digital resources (e.g. apps) to the minimum legal standard (Level AA of the World Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2.1) to ensure that they work well for people with disabilities.
But building websites to the correct standard is only part of the challenge and user testing is the key to making websites accessible for people with disabilities.
This can either involve football clubs carrying out their own user testing with small groups of people with varying disabilities, or they can use organizations like AbilityNet to do it for them.
Either way, the results from user testing websites offer great insights that clubs can learn from in order to develop their websites to make them as accessible to as many people as possible.
Football clubs can also add web accessibility software like Recite Me to their websites to ensure that they’re widely accessible.
Scottish football team St Johnstone has become the first professional club in the UK to add Recite Me to its website to help it meet the needs of its supporters who have disabilities.
The Recite Me toolbar allows anyone who visits the website to change the size of the text, opt to have it read aloud, or even change the language into over 100 different languages – from Scottish Gaelic to Slovak.