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20 Oct 2020

Accessibility is now our middle name


Accessibility is now our middle name
Accessibility is a huge and confusing topic for many. When the Government launched the updated WCAG 2.1 guidelines and deadlines, we knew we wanted to champion the change and help our customers - both current and future - face the audits, statements and updates this would inevitably create.
 
Making your website accessible
Making a website or mobile app accessible means making sure it can be used by as many people as possible. At least 1 in 5 people in the UK have a long term illness, impairment or disability. Many more have a temporary disability.
This includes those with:
- impaired vision 
- motor difficulties 
- cognitive impairments or learning disabilities 
- deafness or impaired hearing. 
 
All public sector websites needed to meet this new legislation by 23rd September 2020. To meet the new duties, there are two main tasks that need to be completed:
- the website should meet Level ‘AA’ of the international WCAG2.1 accessibility standard,
- you should publish, on your website, an Accessibility Statement (in a format approved by the EU and Gov.uk) that details the steps you have taken to make content as accessible as possible.
 
Meeting Level AA
Ensuring your website meets these standards comes in two parts: an audit of the code we use to create your website, and importantly, consideration of the content that you create and publish on your website.
 
From 23 September 2020 all text, images, PDFs, video, audio and other content that you publish on your website needs to be accessible. This implies that team members who have responsibility for managing content on your website now need an understanding of how their work can impact website accessibility and whether you meet the new regulations.
There are cases for exceptions, especially for PDFs, video and audio published prior to 23 September 2018, but if these represent the only way to request a particular service (for example: a PDF form for requesting free school meals), then the PDF must be created as a HTML page, or an accessible PDF.
 
If you are part of the public sector and would like help in auditing your website for accessibility, then please do get in touch - we'd be more than happy to have an informal chat.
 
To learn more about website accessibility and why it is so important, please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps

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