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On September 23rd last year, new accessibility regulations came into force for the public sector. Every website developed for or by public sector organisations must meet WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement on their website.

The regulations state that all public sector websites should be “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust”, particularly for those with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and impaired hearing.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility means more than making content available online. It means ensuring your website’s design is clear and simple, so that every user can access it without needing to adapt it.

Accessible websites are better for everyone: they provide a stronger user experience, are easier to use and often appear higher on search engines.

A recent study by Socitm found that most public sector websites do not currently meet accessibility standards. Common issues include websites that can’t be navigated using a keyboard, inaccessible PDFs that can’t be read by screen readers, images that are missing ALT tags and poor colour contrast that makes text difficult to read.

How can you make sure your website complies?

  1. Your website will meet requirements if it complies with the international WCAG 2.1 Level AA standard.
  2. You must publish an accessibility statement on your website to show that you meet requirements. Your compliance date could be as soon as September 23rd 2019, depending on when your website was built.
  3. If requested, provide an accessible alternative for content that doesn’t meet accessibility standards.

Get in touch to book your Accessibility Audit

If testing the accessibility level of your website is on your roadmap, but you’ve yet to get around to it, we’re here to help.

Our Accessibility Audits provide a critical evaluation of how well a website supports diverse user needs, outlining areas that require your attention and providing examples of how to ensure your platform is fully compliant.

We audit against a range of industry standards, including WCAG 2.1 Level AA, using clear checkpoints and a combination of manual & automated checks.

We understand that public sector project schedules are often predetermined, so we’ll work with you to establish a realistic delivery plan for your audit.

 

If you would like Connect to perform an Accessibility Audit for your website, please call Simon King on 0151 282 4321, or email simon.king@connectisl.com.

 

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