Press release: AbilityNet Leads The Way Enhancing Website With Widgit Symbols

Press Release : News from Widgit Software February 2009

AbilityNet is the first organisation to enhance its website with ‘Point’ symbol support from Widgit. The national charity – which helps disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology – is using Widgit symbols to make information more accessible to a wider audience.

widgit-abilitynetnewIn addition to its main website AbilityNet is developing an ‘easy assessment’ website to help people with disabilities find out what software and hardware is available to help them use a computer. On this site AbilityNet is using Widgit’s innovative new ‘Point’ plug-in – so its users can simply point with their mouse to a word they find difficult and a Widgit Symbol will appear to help them read it.

Developed over the last 20 years, Widgit Symbols are used across the world.  Clean, concise and suitable for all ages they have been carefully designed to illustrate a single concept without adding unnecessary information. There are more than 7,000 images covering a vocabulary in excess of 40,000 words. This vocabulary is continually being extended and encompasses a wide range of topics.

AbilityNet’s useability and accessibility consultant Joseph Chidzik comments: “We’ve previously been able to help people with physical or sensory impairments to use a computer and Widgit’s Point software now meets the requirement for making websites more accessible to people with cognitive difficulties. The Widgit symbols are ideal for people who find text difficult to use or access as they provide visual prompts which illustrate the meaning of individual words.        

“Point has been very straightforward to set up and we are extending it to cover our entire website. It has been very useful to work together with Widgit as the company is trying to help the same people as AbilityNet.”

AbilityNet reports that there has been positive feedback from users. For example, the use of Widgit symbols on the assessment tool has proved a real hit with learners at Cambridge Online. Andrew Entecott, chief executive of the educational charity, says: “Many of our disabled learners use symbols to help communication and this new tool helps them to feel included and independent – it’s a great step forward in making sites like this accessible for all.”

Simon Mead, Widgit’s chief executive officer, says: “We are delighted that AbilityNet is leading the way by being the first to use Point on its own website. There is a natural synergy between Widgit and AbilityNet because both organisations want to increase website accessibility regardless of disabilities or other difficulties in understanding text. ”

To see the Widgit symbols on the ‘easy assessment’ section of AbilityNet’s website go to and hover your mouse over any of the words there. For further information about Widgit Software visit

Picture Caption: Cate Detheridge, Symbols and Accessibility Manager at Widgit (centre) with Dianne Cockburn, AbilityNet (left) and Joseph Chidzik AbilityNet’s useability and accessibility consultant (right).

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