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Accessibility review - Guernsey Dairy

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

Guernsey Dairy
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.





Links

UK Government - website accessibility
States of Guernsey - disability
States of Guernsey - accessibility statement

About the author

Paul Brown

Paul is a creative professional who gained his BA Hons degree in graphic design & multi-media at Bradford University in England after studying fine art under Hockney alumni, Grant Devine. An early career in television and an interest in technology led him to combine graphic design with digital media including video and animation which he applied to touch-screen kiosk applications for Zanussi and Polygram in the 1990's. This lead to work with interactive CD and DVD, including a ground breaking commercial product in 1997, The Great Highland Bagpipes working with Scottish Heritage and the Glasgow Piping Centre.

In 1998, he developed the North of England's first desktop digital video edit suite working directly with Apple (hardware/OS) and AVID (edit software). In 2000, his web based application for social housing (which utilised kiosks for outreach communities) won 5 national technical awards including 'Best Use of Technology'. Between 1999 and 2010 he developed the successful Northern creative agency Bluemoon providing solutions for a wide range of national and international clients including Tesco, M&S, Puma, Foxes Biscuits, Sulzer and Hesco Bastion. 

In addition to his work as a professional designer, Paul has led brand, marketing and communication teams including 5 years in off shore HNW finance managing 9 offices across Europe and an appointment as Global Brand & Marketing Director for Insight Vacations where he directed the launch of Luxury Gold as a stand alone premium 5 star brand within the The Travel Corporation which includes Red Carnation Hotels and Contiki, a mobile centric brand targeting the under 30's, particularly the forthcoming Generation Z.

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Submarine are a technical and creative solutions provider based on the island of Guernsey near the French coast. Our field of operation is generally the Channel Islands although we do service clients with wider operations within Europe.