Accessibility and, comments by a user with a handicap

It’s not easy dealing with a “scandal”, and it’s even less so being objective in doing so.

On February 24th Andrea Mancini, author of and member of the Blog Scandaloitaliano asked me a report on the accessibility and usability of the new Italian National Tourism Portal.

I wrote to Andrea right away, telling him I would work on the report but also that I would need a few days. I didn’t need that time just for me, I wanted to find a way to get other people involved, people with a different handicap from my Spastic Tetraparesis which, anyway, doesn’t cause me any problem concerning web navigation. Given this assumption, today I will talk about two different scandals.

Carlo Filippo Follis

Read and comment. It’s a pleasure, Carlo Filippo Follis

Scandal 1 –

Since I’m disabled, I type by holding a drawing pen with my teeth. So, I would not underline obvious things which I invite you to read on the pages at these addresses:

  1. Scandaloitaliano
  2., were at the fourth day (in italian) at
  3. is not accesssible, so what? (in italian) at

It’s a lot more interesting to examine the problem through the second scandal, which will be payed at the right time (but it will not be payed in euros – like the first one – but only thorugh suffering…)

Scandal 2 – Disabilities & Co.

Manicini didn’t contact me because I’m an Accessibility, usability, CSS, (X)HTML, Economy guru, instead he contacted me to have a “technical” opinion from a disabled person that can feel involved as a citizen and as a disabled citizen. Naive and superficial people may think that these two definitions are about the same, which are not: these two things just cohabitata in the same body and, depending on the way we act, sometimes one of them prevails on the other.
Now the second assumption: I always say I belong to the only Category, the Category of Disabled people, that denies its own nature to state its rights: they try to become what they’re not, getting to absurd lies like “Different abilities”.
So now, let’s get to the point.

A well done web site is a benefit for everybody – and that’s obvious – anyway let’s ask ourselves who are the first to benefit from Web Usability. The answer is for sure: some categories of disable people. The scandal is spreading all over the web but I couldn’t find any trace of it on sites that are dedicated to people with disabilities. I haven’t gone too deep in the research, that’s for sure, but the first pages of important sites like and didn’t seem to be full of complaints or accusations. Who are the people reading these sites? Who’s leading the editorial staff? Why do they exist?

If facing this scandal and this horrible waste doesn’t lead to great anger because of being forgotten and mocked again, since many of can be Tourists only through over the telephone lines, it’s fine! If we want to continue accepting our (but not mine) being “able in a different way”, so it’s ok if is not accesible! Really no, it’s not good enough!
Let’s call Striscia la notizia (a tv program that collects people complains and investigates various problems around the country [n.d.r.]) and say we need stairs to be restored…Ah, no! I was forgetting…architectural barriers is the only problem disabled people like my poor broken self have! Wait, I’m wrong again, I should say peple “able in a different way”.
I just consider myself to be a person with an handicap, I don’t need to show incredible abilities so to make usable something that is not….

What’s left? Asking myself: “Why have I been so stupid to work so hard to have a an accesible and usable web format when I could just use the old one, with tables and all the other easy stuff? Why did I mind so much? Is that of some use for anybody?”.


Starting from the last question: “Is that of some use for anybody?”. Yes, it is. It is useful for me, since I tend not to be mediocre and poor. It is useful for me since I’m glad to belong to that category of people that believes in facts, more than in silly chats and little laws. It is useful because it helps me to differ from others. It is useful because it makes me feel a little like the “Marquis of Grillo”, even if it’s just because of a sentence that he said with pride and conviction.

In the end people with a handicap are not the ones that have been treated badly – they seem not to care – but all those professionals and hard workers that would have presented the Bel Paese well on the web for a small portion of that huge investment.

While it seems that money went to those who use to spread Bel Paese[1] on a slice of bread…

Carlo Filippo Follis –


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