Submarine have completed an accessibility review on a forthcoming website update for Guernsey Dairy working with local consultant Ben Jones.
What is website accessibility?
Essentially, having an accessible website ensures that it can be used by as many people as possible. This includes consideration for users with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive or learning difficulties and potentially impaired hearing / deafness. In the UK as many as 1 in 5 people have some form of disability that might affect web use. Add to this users who are less technically disposed and may not have English as a first language.
It makes sense to provide an inclusive web experience with clear design and content, and it needn't be a lengthy or expensive exercise, particularly if accessibility is considered at the outset during the planning and creative process. It is worth considering that websites will load quicker and rank higher if they include accessibility support in the build.
Is website accessibility, a guideline or regulation?
Accessibility guidelines are relevant to all websites and in the UK, public sector bodies such as those maintained by local authorities are bound by regulation although there are exceptions including recognition of a 'disproportionate burden’ on the organisation. You can find out more about this on the official UK Government website. Regulation aside, avoiding basic issues is logical and Submarine can help you find a balance which suits your organisation and target audience. Common issues include:
• complex navigation (and in more than one place on screen)
• poor colour contrast, use of CAPS and a font which makes text difficult to read
• websites without assisted reader tags and keyboard navigation support
• websites without clear progress / link buttons
• websites with images and icons used as links without an appropriate (alt) description
• inaccessible content such as PDFs forms
In a reasonably painless exercise, Submarine have reviewed the design proposal for an upcoming Guernsey Dairy website release with local consultant Ben Jones, recognised as an accessibility advisor. Our joint recommendations are sympathetic to the original design and do not throw the baby out of the bath. Detailed support is included in the back code although visual improvements include:
• the header / navigation black on black simplified using the available brand colour scheme
• skip header / accessibility statement (links) added
• direct contacts included on the first screen
• heading - use of lower case text rather than CAPS and in a more accessible font
• violator links (rosettes) vertical makes them easier to read with a clear rollover
• images linked to their description text using a simple grey back panel
• read more instead of learn more - direct language
• clear space between content horizontals to avoid one merging presentation
• clear text links included on image panels that link to wider content
• trio of different content more clearly defined above the footer
• footer image runs to solid colour (easier to read items over this)
• footer icons removed in favour of clear text contacts - where icons are useful, text description included also
You can view the home page review before (left) and after using the image below. Hint: the image will open in a new window. Use the browser zoom controls to view it in more detail.
UK Government - website accessibility
States of Guernsey - disability
States of Guernsey - accessibility statement