Did you know the law is changing, and you may now need to make sure you meet WCAG 2.1 accessibility requirements for your website?

This applies to:

  1. companies who sell services and goods to public sector organisations in the EU
  2. all UK public sector organisations, with some exemptions: details on GOV.UK

Deadlines

The deadline for 1) is 23 September 2019 and for 2) is either: the same, if it is a website created after 23 September 2018 or it’s 23 September 2020, if the website existed before 23 September 2018. All public sector native apps must comply by 23 June 2021.

The deadline may stretch further if your organisation has a settlement agreement. Sheri Byrne-Haber explains some of the deadline nuances in her article Accessibility New Year’s Resolutions — The Deadline for Implementing WCAG 2.1.

But basically, if you are a public sector organisation or do business with public sector organisations, unless you’re exempt, your website content needs to meet WCAG 2.1 accessibility requirements. And soon.

From 24 September 2019, Government Digital Service will be monitoring compliance with WCAG 2.1.

Current status

Most public sector websites and apps currently do not meet accessibility requirements. A study by Socitim last year found that 40% of local council homepages failed basic accessibility tests. And a consultant at AbilityNet told us that most websites, generally, are not accessible.

Meeting WCAG 2.1 is part of equality law. While this aspect currently applies to the public sector and organisations who do business with it, you can expect it to apply to all companies in future.

Our content accessibility audit and training offer

We can help you with the content design side of WCAG. That is content readability and accessibility of front end text, images, video, tools, tables. Checking you’re doing things like:

  • using plain English
  • following a good content hierarchy
  • providing transcripts for video content
  • giving icons text labels
  • only using simple tables, and only for data

But not things like whether your code and interactive design elements are accessible, or if your website is responsive across multiple devices. GOV.UK has tips on what to look out for when testing a whole website for accessibility.

We have several options for you. Choose which suits your organisation best.

Option 1: we audit 10 sample pages from you

With this option you take our recommendations for sample content from your website, and apply them to the rest of your site. For pages CDL does not directly audit, you also need to refer to WCAG 2.1 and the readability checklist.

Your organisation supplies 10 pages that are a good representative sample of your content. For example, a university may have course pages, press releases, contact us page, news stories. Send us 2 of each content type.

We review these and make content amendment suggestions to meet WCAG 2.1 requirements, on an annotated document. All work is done remotely. You can discuss our recommendations on a 30 minute video call with the auditor.

Option 2: audit and half day workshop

As with option 1, your organisation supplies 10 pages that give a good representative sample of your content. And we review and make WCAG 2.1 content amendment suggestions remotely, on an annotated document.

When you have digested the results, we come to your offices and train up to 16 people on how to write accessible content for the new rules. Alternatively, we can supply a venue for the workshop.

Option 3: full day workshop on accessible content

In a full day workshop, 10am to 4pm, we will:

  • show you how to help a wide range of access needs, both temporary and permanent, and the effect your content decisions will have
  • show you how to structure your pages and your content journeys to aid usability and accessibility
  • go through the new laws, WCAG and readability scores so that you know what you as an organisation need to be compliant
  • give you a chance to use an accessibility kit to experience how different impairments and disabilities feel
  • rewrite some of your pages to practice the skills you have learned in the day

Option 4: consultancy from us

A Content Design London strategist comes in and works with your organisation on embedding accessibility into both your content strategy and your content design.

We would tailor this to suit your needs but could include:

  • train-the-trainer on accessible content auditing skills
  • training your digital team in accessible content design skills
  • reviewing or building an inclusive content strategy
  • working with stakeholders to help them understand the importance of accessibility and usability

To book or find out more about these options, contact claire@contentdesign.london