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Have you caught up to the government’s website accessibility standards?

The clock is ticking! Does your website meet AA accessibility standards? Find out who the rules apply to and why it’s important to have a fully accessible website.

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Posted by Jon
31 March 2020

Why is website accessibility so important?

According to Scope, at least one in five people in the UK have a long-term illness, impairment or disability. Of those one in five, how many are navigating away from your website because it’s not compatible with their screen reader, the copy is too bulky and hard to read, or the design is simply too busy and headache-inducing?

Have you caught up with legislation?

With the government deadline less than six months away, time is running out to get your website up to scratch with accessibility standards.

Back in 2018, the government set out website and mobile application accessibility regulations for public sector bodies, requiring that these bodies conformed to the international WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard by 23rd September 2020.

Most existing public sector websites that were published before 23rd September 2018 will need to comply with the accessibility regulations by 23rd September 2020.

Who does this affect?

Public sector bodies include both central and local government organisations, some charities and some non-government organisations like schools and colleges, libraries, social services, fire safety and so on.

How do I make my website accessible?

From the code to the content, your website should be built (or scrutinised) with accessibility in mind. Here are just some of the ways to improve accessibility on your website.

#1: Deliver your content in different ways

Video has become a must-have on many websites, with companies using video to introduce their employees, showcase projects or products and keep their visitors engaged. And while video (among other forms of media) can be effective in holding your audience’s attention, they can be limiting for those with hearing or visual impairments. Providing captions and transcripts will improve the accessibility of your media.

Download our guide to creating an effective user experience

#2: Don’t rely on colour to convey a message

Colour can be an effective way to communicate information to users – and it’s a key element of branding and design! But for colour blind visitors, colours can become a frustrating barrier if used as the sole method of sharing your message. We’re not saying don’t use colour, but make sure you use other methods of communication too.

For example, prompting users to click the green button to continue in a form or the yellow button to save progress and quit may work for some users, but colour blind visitors may not be able to identify between the buttons. Text on the buttons (“Continue” or “Save and exit”) would help the colour blind user distinguish between the two buttons.

#3: Make your website screen reader friendly

A screen reader is a software application that assists computer users with visual impairments by relaying on-screen information back as speech or braille. To make sure your website is compatible with screen readers, you need to consider everything from headings to alt text for images, the body of your content to effective use of tables.

For example, if you have a table on your web page and you’ve not included headings for each column and row, or a form without an explicit label on every field, the screen reader won’t be able to communicate the purpose of the content to the user.

Autism-friendly website design

Developmental disorders are an often overlooked but equally important consideration when designing and developing a website. People with autism often have heightened sensory awareness, so keeping your website design feeling clean and organised can help users better navigate to the information they’re looking for.

Think about how you’re communicating information to the user. Is your copy direct and easy-to-read, or is it flowery and vague? Does your website have plenty of images to help communicate a message, or is it text-heavy? For more tips on designing for web accessibility, visit w3.org.

Why Splitpixel?

Our small but mighty team of designers, developers, content creators and marketers are dedicated in delivering a pixel-perfect user experience for all your website visitors.

We’ve been building effortless websites for over a decade. From developing straightforward sitemaps to writing inclusive and welcoming website copy, we keep accessibility in mind every step of the way. Find out how we delivered the charity, Unique Ways, a new website fully compliant with AAA accessibility standards.

Contact Splitpixel for a free, informal chat and discover how we can help your website meet accessibility standards.

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