Does Your Website Need To Be Accessible?

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 that came into effect on 23rd September 2018, aims to address the needs of people with disabilities. It is aimed at ensuring public sector websites and apps are accessible to all users and especially those with disabilities. 

With compliance required by September 2020 for existing websites and June 2021 for mobile apps, there isn’t much time left to get up to speed.

What Makes a Site Accessible? 

Accessibility is more than putting things online. It means ensuring your content and design are clear and simple enough so that most users can access it without needing to adapt it as well as supporting people who do need to adapt things. 

For instance, a user with impaired vision may use a screen reader, screen magnifier or braille display. Or a user with motor difficulties may use a speech recognition software, special mouse or on-screen keyboard emulator. 

Your website is accessible when it is: 

  • Perceivable – The content is accessible to people with different sense impairments, such as colour blind.
  • Operable – The website can be accessed using different technology, such as keyboards. 
  • Understandable – The website is logical, easy to use and does not distract. 
  • Robust – The website works on an array of technologies and platforms. 

Why Would you Make Your Site accessible? 

At least 20% of people in the UK have a long-term impairment, illness or disability. And many others have a temporary disability. 

And yet, 4 out of 10 public body websites have failed basic accessibility tests. 

When using a public sector website, people may not have a choice. So it’s important to ensure your website works for everyone. If your website isn’t accessible, citizens with disabilities will have difficulty navigating your website. 

This includes people with: 

  • Motor difficulties
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired hearing or deafness
  • Learning disabilities or cognitive impairments

Do You Need to Do Anything on Your Website?

Your website will meet the new legal requirements when it meets the key acceptance criteria of the European (EN 301 549) or international (WCAG 2.1AA) standards. You must also publish an accessibility statement explaining how accessible your site is. 

If you are a public sector entity, you will have to make these changes to your website by 23 September 2020. If you are a private business that works with citizens in some form, it’s a good idea to make these changes, even though it’s not mandatory. 

How We Can Help 

As a professional digital agency, we can guide you through the requirements and offer advice on accessibility practices. We can also help make these changes on your website. Contact us today for more information. or call us on 01925 759 669