There are 3 key steps in our digital design and development process to ensure a high standard of accessibility:
STEP 1: We follow industry best practice standards and guidelines
We have created a set Digital Design Guidelines – this is an online style guide, used by our developers to ensure a high level of consistency across all pages. The guide includes best practice around accessibility and ensures that this is built into requirements at the start of a project.
Some of the standards we are rolling out include:
- Text size can be changed by clicking 'view', 'text size'
- Colour contrast has been checked to make sure it’s easy to read
- Links and buttons are highlighted to show if you're about to activate them
- All images have 'alt text' - a description within the code, which enables screen reader technology to read out what they are
- HTML headings are used, making it easier to navigate from heading to heading
- Tables are used to present information in a logical way and the headings have labels within the code, making it easier for screen readers to interpret them
- Links are descriptive, they make sense when read out of context, and are in a different colour to normal text
- 'Skip to main content' links allow you to bypass the navigation menu and go straight to content
- A type of code called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is used to present the pages in a structured way
- All application forms can be accessed via the keyboard and the code behind them includes labels to enable screen readers to describe them
STEP 2: We take ongoing guidance from industry experts
We work closely with independent accessibility experts to improve our services in response to changes in technology, user needs, behaviour and expectations.
We have our site audited annually and we are pleased to see big improvements in WCAG ratings across the majority of our pages.
We are continually working on fixing the issues we find and will conduct ongoing audits and spot checks to confirm that the issues raised have been addressed successfully.
STEP 3: We carry out customer research and testing
We regularly ask real customers to test new services and give vital feedback – this includes testing our website with disabled customers.
We prioritise all feedback in terms of WCAG rating and customer impact and it is built into our ongoing improvements plan, along with the actions from our audits.
We have also tested our site on NVDA and JAWS screen readers and are we are confident that our digital services are compatible with the recent versions of a range of assistive technologies.
(Date of statement – October 2019)