For pretty much all of us, the web is an essential part of everyday life. But in the UK, one in five people has a disability — visual, hearing, motor or cognitive — that could make it difficult or impossible for them to use a website. In the past, an organisation whose website was unusable by people with disabilities could simply offer an alternative, such as a phone number to call.
Today, however, that’s no longer enough. Creating an inclusive society is a global concern, whether creating accessible buildings, information, education, work or entertainment.. And rightly so.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) established the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which has now be adopted as an international standard across the globe.. To meet the guidelines, a website must be:
In the UK, regulations around meeting WCAG (specifically, WCAG 2.1 level AA) apply to public sector bodies including central government, local government organisations, and some charities and other non-government organisations.
Unless an exemption applies, websites published on or after 23 September 2018 (the date the regulations came into force) have to comply within a year; and all other websites must comply by 23 September 2020.
Recommendations published by the Government Digital Service (GDS) to help public sector bodies meet the requirements include:
benefits.As an example, people with disabilities may make extensive use of local council services, such as social care. Not only does ensuring they can use a council’s website make sense from an inclusivity perspective, it also helps achieve the channel shift that so many councils have as a goal.
And just think: an accessible website is actually easier for everyone to use, as it provides a much better user experience (UX). For example:
Peoples’ needs change over time and designing with accessibility in mind means you are prepared for this change; for example, the ageing population may need larger text or screen-readers. Accessibility for all with user-centred design
Originally posted here