Communications News: Site Visit - www.mencap.org.uk

Mencap's website was relaunched earlier this year with an emphasis on accessibility. The site is striking for its attempts to make navigability as easy as possible - lots of clear buttons and icons, help on using the site and so forth. There's also a nice control that allows users to adjust the size of the text.

The charity says the new site has brought increased traffic, with nearly 100,000 visitors each month. It also ties in closely with sister site www.askmencap.info, an online directory of learning disability information.

Main pages

The site makes excellent use of photography, with lots of pictures of real people in real situations, which it argues (fairly successfully) makes it easier for visitors to relate to the content. There's also special 'listen' buttons throughout the site - these play the voices of people with learning disabilities reading out the text. Or there's the option to download the Browsealoud plug-in to read out copy.

Special features

Mencap has joined the small but growing band of charities with websites that make effective use of online video, which offers you the choice of either downloading a whole visual (a new TV ad) or still photographs if you have no fast web connection.

Mencap says

"Our new front page has more of a focus on news from the world of learning disability, complementing our connected e-newsletter, which now goes out to 10,000 people. In March we will launch an online community for users of the site, which will allow them to communicate with each other with support and information."

Site Visit is by technology writer Gary Flood

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