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Free Standard audits to help open net to blind

Standard Life is offering free audits for IFA firms seeking to upgrade their websites to create a more accessible service to the blind and partially sighted.

In conjunction with the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Standard will provide a free evaluation of firms&#39 sites and advise them on what measures they should take to make them clearer and easier to use.

Standard is redesigning its sites in a bid to attract the increasing number of partially sighted people looking to transact through the internet.

It says there are almost two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK with a combined spending power of more than £40bn a year who are unable to use most sites.

Unless they are provided with a more accessible service, Standard says companies have little chance of breaking into the market.

Firms with websites considered by the RNIB to be accessible will be awarded with a See It Right logo, which it hopes will be viewed as the industry benchmark.

Marks & Spencer, British Telecom and Scottish Power are among companies backing the campaign and seeking accreditation.

Standard group chief executive designate Iain Lumsden says: “This initiative will create wider access to the web, not only for people with sight problems but also for the large number of people in the UK with other disabilities.”

RNIB chairman Colin Low says: “The partnership with Standard is unique. It will mean many companies will be able to take the necessary steps to make their websites accessible for the blind and partially sighted people.”

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