[School Websites] Why We Don’t Disable Right-Click

Every so often a client asks us if we can disable right-click on their school website. The reasons are often the same; the school wants to protect the images on their website which is completely understandable when you have possibly paid for the photos. There is also the issue of children being identifiable within the photos.

We always try to make our case for why we think it's not the best solution to protect your images in the friendliest way we can, but it may be helpful to explain a few things, especially as other school website providers do disable right-click on their websites.

Here's the reasons why we choose not to in the Schudio School Website CMS.

Myth Busted: It isn't a Data Protection Issue

A recent conversation with a client brought up the issue of data protection and a big question arose; are photos protected under the Data Protection Act? I was quite sure I understood the legislation around this but want to make sure that we are on the right page. I made a quick phone call to the Information Commissioner's Office and had a chat with their 'Advice Team'.


There may (pushing it!) be an issue if you, for example, create a news article with the photo of a student who has just won an award and you name them, because then that person can be identified. But because you've named them in the article you clearly want them identified in the piece so all aspects of data protection go out of the window immediately.

Any other issues that schools need to consider come under the umbrella of safeguarding rather than data protection.

Your Users Lose Standard, Expected Functionality

When your users visit your school website they are expecting to be able to engage with your website as they would any other. If we add functionality to our system so you have the option to disable right-click on your website users will immediately lose the following functions:

  • Quick access to 'back'
  • Quick access to 'print'
  • Quick access to 'refresh'
  • Quick access to open in new tab / window
  • Plus quick access to 'Inspect Element' & 'View Source' options which are used extensively by more advanced web users and developers. They are also really useful tools for managing your school website.

As a rule it is so important to make your website as easy as possible to use and by removing this key functionality you are inhibiting the users of your website. But this leads us on to another significant point ...

Javascript Issues

If we add a function to your website so that you can disable right-click this can be very simply overridden by the user disabling Javascript in their browser settings. At that point the option we've added becomes useless. It does seem to be a waste of time adding the functionality when it can be worked around so easily.

There are LOTS of better options anyway

I've just had a very quick think and I can think of nearly a dozen options that are specifically designed for taking screenshots and grabbing areas of a screen with a primary use grabbing images from websites. There's lots of options; from those that are built in to both Macs and PCs as standard, to web based tools such as Droplr, Box and 4Shared which give you brilliant options like file sharing, snip and edit tools and lots more.

When there is such a wealth of powerful tools for grabbing screenshots available it seems a bit pointless to have an option available to you which is completely redundant. Our friend at the ICO asked what is to stop someone taking a photo of the screen? Good point, but they don't have to anyway because there are built-in tools on every device to do exactly that.

... and finally, it's a little insulting

Harsh? I don't think it is. The vast majority of your users will be coming to your site expecting you to provide them with good, interesting, useful content, not to steal content from your site. You are expecting them to trust you with the veracity of the information you provide. It's not the best relationship builder to say that you don't trust them in return. I would go so far as to say it's a little insulting. School websites are an incredibly important tool for keeping your school community informed and engaged and to maintain a healthy relationship both ways, like any relationship, trust is a vital.

It sounds a little trivial doesn't it? But we all know how quickly we will leave a website if we don't like it for even the smallest reason, so don't give anyone that reason. If you disable right-click, you are giving users a reason that you can avoid.

I very much hope I've explained the reasons we don't recommend or support the disabling of right-click on your school website but I would be delighted to chat this through with you personally if you'd like to discuss it with me or any of the team. If you have any questions do get in touch with me directly on ian@schudio.com.

Join Our Newsletter

Simply add your email and you'll get expert advice weekly, direct to your inbox.

Previous Post Old Entry

Share this article:


Next Post New Entry
WordPress Lightbox Plugin