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Three quarters of all web sites exclude disabled

Six million disabled and older Internet users in the UK have difficulty accessing around 80 per cent of the web, according to a new site dedicated to making the web available to all.

The new site, Fix the Web, allows disabled and older Internet users to report problems they encounter when surfing the web.

The site has been launched by UK charity Citizens Online and is funded by the Nominet Trust, a charity set up by the Internet registrar responsible for handing out .uk domain names.

Dr Gail Bradbrook of Citizens Online has appealed for a "committed group of tech volunteers" to help the charity report back users' complaints to web site owners.

Dr Bradbrook stressed that the site had no plans to "name and shame" site owners, but hoped to work with them to improve access.

"I believe many techies would be horrified to think that the web they love so much is excluding people," she said. "I firmly believe that this isn't a problem disabled people should have to deal with on their own."

The organisation hopes to recruit 10,000 volunteers to deal with a target of 250,000 web sites within the next two years.

Problems the group will focus on include web sites that are incompatible with 'screen reader' software that reads out the text from web sites. Other flaws include difficult-to-read text and sites that cannot be navigated by visitors who can't use a mouse.

According to the World Wide Web Consortium, only 19 per cent of websites around the globe meet its minimum standards for accessibility.

Broadband minister Ed Vaizey has promised an overhaul of website accessibility by 2012.