Accessible website improves equality on the web

Accessible website improves equality on the web

According to Government Digital Services, the accessibility regulations in the UK came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018. Regulations have introduced us to the concept of accessible website and accessibility in web content creation. Accessibility guidelines intend to enhance everyones’ ability to use digital services – equally. 

But for whom are these regulations set for? All public sector bodies have to meet these requirements, unless they are exempt. This means central government and local government organizations as well as some charities and other non-government organizations. 

Websites and mobile apps are made more accessible by making it ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’. You’ll also need to include and update an accessibility statement on your website.

Accessible website. A man is sitting outside and using laptop that is placed on his lap.

The accessibility regulations have introduced us to the concept of accessibility, especially among the public sector. However, everyone benefits from an accessible website.

The usability of digital services will be taken into consideration better and better. By doing so, it can be ensured that people who are not used to using digital services, such as elderly people, can use those services fluently. Covid-19 has already forced people to act in digital environments, even if they weren’t used to using digital interfaces. 

Enhancing the quality of digital services by making them accessible

Everybody benefits from an accessible website. There are at least 1 in 5 people in the UK that have a long term illness, impairment or disability – and many more that have a temporary disability.

Accessibility benefits especially these groups of people:

  • elderly people
  • people suffering from dyslexia or other learning disabilities
  • people who have problems to concentrate
  • people with sensory disability
  • handicapped

Even if the starting point of the accessibility regulations are to make sure that the digital services are accessible to people with certain disabilities, they will benefit every user. The ease of use will also drive new online behavior. The increased use of audio content also creates a new kind of demand, when people who are used to listening to audiobooks and podcasts consume content increasingly by voice.

Give your website visitor a chance to enjoy your content – design for everyone

When we start to pay attention to the accessibility of our web contents, it will become a standard among all industries. After all, accessibility is a good guideline for every company, despite the industry! Every actor offering digital services aims to make it as fluent and pleasant as possible for the user. Accessible websites usually work better for everyone. They are often faster, easier to use and appear higher in search engine rankings.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are based on 4 design principles. The content must be: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. This ensures that there are different ways to interact with the content. For example, users might:

  • use a keyboard instead of a mouse
  • change browser settings to make content easier to read
  • use a screen reader to ‘read’ (i.e. speak) content out loud
  • utilize a screen magnifier to enlarge part or all of a screen
  • use voice command to navigate a website

Voice is one way to enhance the accessibility of a website. The voice technology develops and contributes to the accessibility in digital services by making all content listenable in seconds. Not to mention the benefits of voice to all of the users: the content is in more consumable form, allowing people to take voice along to everyday chores, for example.

Read more about Web Accessibility from our previous blog post.

Sources:

GOV.UK, Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies

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