Meeting the needs of our users (and accessibility law)
I started my role as Digital Delivery Officer for New Forest District Council a month into lockdown and 2 months before we launched the new version of our website.
When I joined, the website was already designed and the content mostly written, with just the finishing touches still to do.
One of those things was to make sure we met the new accessibility legislation.
As a central webteam of 1 this was a massive task. I needed help. A sample audit of the site was high up on the priority list.
I knew that Content Design London (CDL) shared my passion and had the knowledge and expertise to improve the site.
So I got in touch with CDL’s Head of Consultancy, Mark Picken. Together, I wanted us to not only meet the new legislation, but to go as far as we can in making our content inclusive.
Mark arranged for Lizzie Bruce to conduct an audit of 10 pages on our website.
I carefully chose 10 sample pages which had content such as PDFs, tables, buttons and images on them.
Within a couple of weeks, Lizzie and Mark sent through their findings and arranged a call to go through them together.
The audit was, as you would expect, really easy to read and understand.
It raised lots of questions which Lizzie and Mark were more than happy to answer and explore further.
What happened next
We took the top 10 key points from the audit and scored them for ease of use and impact.
This helped inform the roadmap for the next few months and beyond, and included:
- using sentence case for titles and headings (we have already changed over 50% of the site so far),
- applying content design techniques to best serve our users (like frontloading information, and how to use bullet points)
- and, of course, making sure all PDF content has HTML text alternatives.
Since then, I have shared the findings and the roadmap with colleagues across the council. They have now become advocates for making our website meet all the needs of our users.
I was delighted to work with Lizzie and Mark and would love to work with them again.
Now, on to those PDFs (10 down, a few hundred to go!).
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