Jodi's parents (front, centre) joined the winners at the reception. © Jon Pratty / 24 Hour Museum
Simulacra are sponsors of the 2006 Jodi Awards
Tate Modern and Wakefield Library have been announced as winners of Jodi Awards for excellence in museum, gallery, library, archive and heritage website accessibility.
The awards were announced on April 5 2006 at a ceremony at the British Museum. Judges also gave Wolverhampton Museum Service a commendation for their excellent History of Wolverhampton site.
Named in memory of Jodi Mattes (1973-2001), who worked as part of the British Museum's COMPASS team and later at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Jodi Awards honour Jodi's efforts to ensure the museum's COMPASS website was accessible as possible.
The awards are organised by The British Museum, the Museum, Library and Archive Council (MLA) and The 24 Hour Museum.
Fazilet Hadi of the RNIB made a moving speech about what it's like to be a cultural consumer when you are blind. © Jon Pratty / 24 Hour Museum
"This year, all nominations met high technical web accessibility standards, said MLA Chairman, Mark Wood, who presented the awards, after speeches by Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, Fazilet Hadi of the RNIB and Nick Poole of MDA.
"It is a sign that museums, libraries and archives are developing ambitious targets and playing an active part nationally in meeting e-government targets for web accessibility."
"Technology has the power to transform accessibility," said Fazilet Hadi of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). She issued a challenge to the assembled audience: "In the next ten years, let's be creative with this technology. If people in the arts can't bring this off, then who can?"
The Jodi Award for excellence went to i-Map: The Every Day Transformed, Tate Modern's website that makes its online collection accessible to blind and partially-sighted people.
Tate Modern won the Jodi Award for Excellence for their Imap2 project. © Jon Pratty / 24 Hour Museum
Judges singled out the site's groundbreaking qualities saying it was "destined to set the standard in best global practice." The website, one of the few to describe collections for visually impaired people, has already become the world leader in making collections accessible to the blind and partially sighted.
A Jodi Award for Excellence with Low Budgets went to Speaking Volumes, a website developed by Wakefield Library and Information Services which is designed to allow users to easily contribute content.
Designed for blind and partially sighted users, the site enables people to chat and swap information online about book and audio book readers. The judges commended the site for being enjoyable, stimulating and easy to use, describing it as: "an exemplary regional resource for reader development."
Speaking Volumes is used in partnership with public libraries throughout Yorkshire and Humberside.
Wakefield Library and Information Service won the award for excellence with a low budget. © Jon Pratty / 24 Hour Museum
The 2006 judging panel comprised: Marcus Weisen, MLA Health and Disability Adviser; Nina Baptise, Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council; Ross Parry, Department of Museums Studies, University of Leicester and Jon Pratty, 24 Hour Museum.
Judges were supported by the results of automated and user testing commissioned from designedforall, www.designedforall.co.uk whilst the user panel included blind, partially sighted, dyslexic and deaf people.
"The winning sites involved users in the web development process," added Mr Wood "They are wonderful examples of the unique ways in which museums, libraries and archives can use the web to make to collections accessible to visually impaired people."
A final 'Commendation for Excellence in User Involvement' went to Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service for their History of Wolverhampton website.
Wolverhampton Arts and Museums were commended by the judges for their site. © Jon Pratty / 24 Hour Museum
As well as being an excellent local history website which is simple in design and easy to use, the judges singled it out as a "good example of the benefits of user involvement in website development." The site was fine-tuned using feedback received from disabled site users.
The awards are developed and sustained by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), 24 Hour Museum and the British Museum. The MLA is the national development agency working for, and on behalf of, museums, libraries and archives, advising the government on policy and priorities for the sector.
MLA's roles are to provide strategic leadership, to act as a powerful advocate, to develop capacity and to promote innovation and change. Visit: www.mla.gov.uk for more information.
The 2005 MLA report "Accessibility of museum, library and archives websites: the MLA audit" highlighted the need to keep improving web accessibility in the sector. The report and further information on the annual Jodi Awards are available at:www.mla.gov.uk/website/policy/Diversity/web_Accessibility
Sponsorship for the Jodi Awards 2006 was provided by Simulacra new media consultancy.