Our websites now have to adhere to The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. As a Council if we do not fully comply we could be held in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
For information about our website content please read our accessibility statement.
Further information about accessibility requirements from GOV.UK: Understanding the new accessibility requirements.
Any third party or contractor that creates content for us must make sure that their product or content is fully accessible. We no longer accept any new material that does not meet the accessibility requirements.
Anyone developing any content such as documents, images or video for inclusion on our websites or systems must ensure that the content is fully accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities or people visually or hearing impaired.
We are working to significantly reduce the number of PDFs and documents on our website.
If PDFs are not created with sufficient care, or are complex documents or forms, they are often bad for accessibility, and rarely comply with the legal accessibility standards now required of us on the web. We prefer to provide content produced as html web pages.
If you would like to discuss html web page content, we ask third parties to contact our web team email@example.com so we can discuss how we can build and present html content appropriately for use on our website.
We work closely with Smarter Digital Services, who can provide training sessions, short e-learning courses, and detailed guidance on how to create accessible website content and documents.
Below are 7 top tips for document accessibility, for more support please contact the Smarter Digital Services Team.
7 top tips for document accessibility
The structure of a document is the way content is organised. To organise and structure content you need to apply in-built headings and styles (in MS Word).
Structure using headings can provide a navigation so that all users, including those on assistive technology can quickly get to the content they need without having to read everything word for word before they get to it.
Heading styles are in the Home tab on the ribbon in MS Word. Using these you can add a heading.
People who are blind, have low vision, or are colour-blind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by colours alone so use other distinguishing factors too.
Considering colour and contrast isn’t just about people being blind or having vision issues, it is important to everyone.
It is important to use sufficient contrast for text and background colours.
Some useful tools for checking colour and contrast are:
Include alternative text (alt text) with all visuals and images that you use.
Alt text is used to provide an alternative description of the image for those people who are unable to view it. This may include people with visual impairments who use screen readers as well as people using text only browsers. This is also useful if the image fails to load properly.
Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document.
It is very important that the text we use for hyperlinks describes where people will go if they click that link. Using meaningful and descriptive text makes it easier for everyone.
Long unclear links or vague links like ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ make it very hard for people to know where the link will take them.
Try not to use the full URL (long web address) as the link as this would read out in full. Create the link in context as can be seen throughout this document.
Complex language can be very difficult for some people, especially where English is not their first language or for those with learning difficulties or reduced cognitive abilities.
Try to avoid using long overly complex language, such as jargon, unexplained acronyms and long words.
Make sure you have written with the reader in mind and with the right tone of voice, that is clear and concise.
The Plain English Campaign have free guides, services and resources to help with writing in plain English.
If you are using tables in your documents use a simple table structure with column headers. Avoid using column and row spans, split cells or nested tables.
Tables can cause orientation issues for screen reader users as it can become difficult to understand where you are in the table.
There is an accessibility checker available in MS Word which you can use to keep a check on how your accessible your document is. Click on Review in the top ribbon and then the Check Accessibility icon. The results of the accessibility check are shown on the right-hand side. By clicking on the item, you are given a prompt about how to fix the issue, such as adding alt-text, identifying colour contrast issues, etc.