How to meet your accessibility requirements when building a council website.
It is safe to say with so many budget cuts procurement is getting increasingly more vital to get any web design project right and getting the right web agency is even more vital.
The design should be clear and simple not too many images and not too heavy on links, google likes links but your visitors will not.
It is vital to pull a visitor onto your website and keep them on it but a website has always been the tool to getting the information you need from it so do not over think the design of your council website and if you can unburden your council website from having too much flashy design, Design has a purpose and that purpose is to keep the user engaged but local and visitors will be coming to your council website to find vital information and then most probably picking up the phone to you.
Keep it simple do not over think the design of your council website when you think to hard about the design then you can miss out on the bigger picture of what does our website need to do.
Make sure you think very hard about accessible design when designing your new website and remember it is not just about making things bigger.
Experimenting is everything in the design world every good designer will tell you that if one image does not work don’t give up you will get the right mix between great accessible design and content but make sure you label all images in plain English in your code and remember those alt tags.
Content is king right?
Many council websites will need and have lots of written content and keeping this up-to-date is vital, so please make sure the content is clear, spaced out and written in plain English so everyone can understand it. With websites with lots of content make sure you have some form of text enlargement technology on your actual website because no one with a disability will hunt their browser to help them find out how to enlarge things.
Before publishing your content on your website it’s important to be certain that you have achieved what you originally set out to achieve, a nice simple council website checklist for any good content creation should include the following:
- Does this content get our point across clearly?
- Is our website content engaging (will people want and be able to read it)?
- Is my content format well laid out (consider images, paragraph structure, headings etc)?
- Will this benefit my website and SEO as a whole?
- Do we have clear call to actions?
- Are we ready to publish our content?
Once you are sure that you have completed these key areas it’s time to publish your content and hopefully see a great return on your investment, both of your time, and for the investment made by your company or client.
Web Design Technology
Something we get asked a lot by our customers is what technology should we be building our website in and there is no right or wrong answer to this but for complex council websites you should ideally be building the website in html and CSS as standard as this is the glue that holds your website together.
If you need to update your website regularly we would suggest getting your website custom built with a custom CMS this means your not tied into any web design agencies Content management system and then if you need to move your website then you can do it with no hassle or fuss.
There are however lots of free open source CMS systems out there though like Umbraco, Wordpress and for eCommerce there is Magento and these CMS systems are just as great to build your website on if you’re on a tight budget.
Accessibility Council Website Considerations
- Someone with a visual impairment coming onto your council website will start from the top of any web page and work their way down the page.
- People with visual impairment sometimes use software to read/describe the site to them. make sure you tell the developers of your council website build and make sure everything is labeled clearly in your website code?
- People with motor disabilities will use touch technology. They will also use pinch and enlarge technology. Does your council website have this built in or are you thinking about it?
- Someone with visual impairments and motor ability disabilities will look for images on your website with clear descriptions about what they are looking for. does your website have images?
- Someone coming to your council website with dyslexia will find it very difficult reading text and understanding it is there a way your website can help them.
- People with all disabilities will want to increase the text and image sizes does your council website do this? do you have this technology ?
- People with brain disabilities will want to be able to change the colour of the background of your website to suit their prosaic disability. are you thinking about colour change technology?
- Someone with motorbility disabilities will use specialist touchpad technology. is your website ready for this technology ?
- Someone who is blind will use braille keyboards. has your council website got braille capability ?
- Someone who is visually impaired will find drop down menu’s on your website hard to navigate and use. could you replace them?
- Someone who is visually impaired will look to see if the website has a text version of the website so they can navigate and read and even buy from your website with ease.
- Independence is vital for someone with a disability so they can do everything them self. are you looking at new innovations for your website or apps to improve usability?
- People with visual impairments will not understand complicated button symbols on any website and features and small icons which do not tell you what they do.
- People with epilepsy will find moving elements on your council website distracting and could cause an epileptic fit. do you need moving and refreshing website parts?
- People that are visually impaired have no peripheral vision this means they can’t see to the side of them so navigating a website is a challenge. do you have things at the side of your council site they can’t see?
- People with disabilities like to use access keys because this lets them navigate the website with the touch of 2 keys on the keyboard and get to parts of the website they want to use quickly.
- The last point I will point out accessibility is everything to people with disabilities it is a 39 billion and growing market and someone with a disability will not hunt the browser to find out how to use your website so the accessibility technology needs to be active at the top fo the website not in your websites footer.
Web Design Myths
Something we get asked almost every day is, is accessible web design costly?
Accessible Web design is like buying a house. It needs to be secure, look and feel awesome and have some call to actions to entice your user in and you must do your research and make vital checks to make sure it is right for you and it is the same way about your web design project.
Your website these days is what will make your business succeed or fail, So please make sure you have a reasonable budget for your new website or existing website because a website is your shop window and if it does not look, work we’ll or you have paid a cheap web design fee then you will get what you have paid for.
Accessible Website design is not cheap because it needs to be done right the first time around.
Having a accessibility statement and not acting on your accessibility is not going to get anyone with a disability using your council website.
Accessibility Innovation to think about.
Every business or council should always be forward thinking and this includes your website, with 285 million of us now having a disability of some kind in the uk alone and with that set to increase dramatically in the future it has never been so vital for your council to be thinking and ready to act now. With that in your mind we would like to introduce you to just a couple of things your council website could be doing.
Colour Change Functionality
This allows a user to change the background/text colour of your website to suit their specific disability
Text/Content Enlargement Functionality
This at the very least should be implemented on your business website. It allows users to enlarge the text, content and headings on your website so that they see them more comfortably. Text size change functionality is a key aspect of AA WCAG 2.0 compliance.
Access Key Functionality
This will allow users of all disabilities navigate around your website by touching a few keys on their keyboard
An in depth accessibility audit of your current website and business can help you better understand how to market to the enormous disability sector globally.
Accessible eCommerce Store
Every ecommerce store should now be accessible We build eCommerce websites with specialist accessibility technology baked in to boost sales, improve marketing and create great PR.
Talking App Functionality
This technology would transform your app and allow every user to navigate no matter their ability. Very few apps currently use this kind of technology and can be a valuable marketing and PR tool.
Text to Speech Technology
This technology will read your content back to the user of the website. It is relatively new but becoming more common and ideal if your business want’s to target a new user audience and generate more sales.
Enlarge Images Hover
This technology has been around for some time but many websites still do not have it When a user hovers over an image on your website it will enlarge or pop the image up to enable it to be seen more clearly.
If you feel we are a perfect match to help you with your existing or new council website we would love to have a coffee and a chat and see how we can help out.