School & College Website Accessibility
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PRINCIPLES FOR PRINCIPALS
The government has introduced a requirement that websites and mobile apps for public bodies be more accessible. This accessibility legislation for public sector body websites and apps actually dates back to 2018, so right now your website and/app must meet certain accessibility standards (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at the AA standard, to be specific) and you must publish an appropriate accessibility statement in line with this.
This is a requirement for school and college leaders to make their website or mobile application accessible by following four accessibility principles - perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. In practical terms that means individuals with impaired vision, learning, physical or hearing difficulties should be able to access any information or services on websites and in apps as others do. Fully responsive website design, accessible PDF downloads, alternative text descriptions for images and effective use of colour contrast in page design are examples of measures which contribute to a solid accessibility approach.
These principles lead to questions about one’s website. Is it currently operable for those with impaired sight, impaired hearing or no mouse, for example? Is the site structure and content easy to understand and has it been developed using modern processes and best practices for accessibility? There is a lot to think about and whilst good progress has been made, in these challenging times, not everyone is on top of this important area.
THE SURVEY SAYS…..
Concept4 recently partnered with Glove Consulting and Marketing Advice for Schools to carry out the 2021 Education Marketing and Communications Survey. When asked if their website was accessible 18% believed it was not, with a further 41% not sure. That’s 6 out of 10 schools and colleges who are not confident their website meets the prescribed standard! Understandably, there have been other priorities in the last eighteen months but now is a good time to review your website if you have not done so already. Concept4 can help with this – we’ve had accessibility as part of our design and development processes for years. We offer a competitive accessibility evaluation and review service should you have any concerns in this area. This is going to be particularly relevant to more mature sites built prior to the current guidelines. If none of this is ringing bells from when you created or last updated your website, then please do contact us!
CONCEPT4 AND ACCESSIBILITY
All public sector websites must meet the accessibility standard and publish an appropriate accessibility statement. Concept4 recognises and values the design, build and provision of information on websites developed in a format which is accessible to all - we program our websites following the published web standards and accessibility guidelines. This ensures your organisation’s website or app meets the minimum standard of compliance. Whilst this can be time consuming, we believe that applying accessible design principles, ensuring accessible colour palettes and testing accessible webpage templates is incredibly important.
We go the extra mile and pay attention to the smallest details on every project. Contact us and we’ll be glad to answer your questions on website accessibility and offer advice on how best to tackle it.