Digital accessibility health check: points to consider

digital health check

At least 1 in 5 people in the UK have a long term illness, impairment or disability. Many more have a temporary disability (Gov.uk). Making a website accessible means making sure it can be used by as many people as possible.

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. You can read more detailed information about accessibility principles from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

It is also important to consider accessibility when writing a blog. WordPress offer a helpful accessibility support page.

As a starting point here is a very useful collection of posters from the UK Home Office to help you design for accessibility. They consider designing for users:

  • on the autistic spectrum
  • of screen readers
  • with low vision
  • with dyslexia
  • with physical or motor disabilities
  • who hard deaf or hard of hearing
  • with anxiety

Click to access accessibility-posters.pdf

 

The Usability.gov website includes the following best practices for accessible digital content:

  • Do not rely on colour as a navigational tool or as the sole way to differentiate items
  • Images should include Alt text in the markup/code. This is alternative text to describe your image to people who can’t see it.
  • Complex images should have more extensive descriptions near the image (perhaps as a caption or descriptive summary).
  • Provide transcripts for podcasts.
  • If you have a video on your site, provide visual access to the audio information through in-sync captioning.

On 23 September 2018 new regulations on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies came into force in the UK.

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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