Accessibility services for Public Bodies
The new EU directive is making many public bodies re-assess how they approach web accessibility. It’s always been important, but often lack of knowledge, budget restrictions have all meant that public bodies have done what they can, but not necessarily enough to comply with the new EU accessibility directive that was passed on 23rd September 2018.
Dig Inclusion have services to help you meet each of the deadlines introduced with the directive.
I am building a new website, what should I do to comply to the EU Directive?
The companies we have worked with over several projects know that the most efficient way to create an accessible website is to build an accessible website – not just run a few checks at the end and realise there is a whole lot of work needed to change what has just been built.
The EU directive is split into a few different deadlines, the first focuses on new websites. Any new website created by a Government organisation must be built to the WCAG guidelines by 23 September 2019.
That means anyone building a new website should really act now. If you’ve not yet hired a development company make sure you build accessibility guidelines into your contract.
I’ve a current website, what should I do to comply to the EU Directive?
If your website is already live you have until 23rd September 2020 to make sure this is accessible.
One of the first things organisations tend to do when they are told they need to make their website accessible is to have an audit. A WCAG guideline check to see what currently passes and what needs correcting to meet the guidelines.
This is often a great starting point but also not the only solution, in addition it’s important to look at how you maintain an accessible website moving forward which can include training and style guides for staff – when you should start the audit process depends on multiple elements and not one answer fits all, so instead I’d pose a few questions.
- Are there plans to bring in a new website in the next 3 years?
If the answer is yes, honestly, I’d see if it’s possible to focus time and resource into launching the new website by September 2020, instead of making changes to a current site that would be retired a year later.
If no, then an audit is a good starting point to plan the next steps
- Will you be making the changes yourself or outsourcing any web work?
If making the changes internally, how much time do you have to dedicate to making changes? The sooner you know the scale of the issues the easier it will be to plan this around existing projects and day to day work.
If outsourcing, Get an audit done as close to when the subcontractor can make the changes. Websites are continually changing and any issues we find will have screenshots and URLs linked to help them identify the issue highlighted.
- Do you have multiple websites and micro-sites?
Despite our best efforts to put together an affordable audit package, if you multiply this cost across different websites and micro-sites the cost can soon add up – it’s important to identify the page templates that need testing as you don’t need every page tested. Having manual testing on a representative sample of pages is the most cost effective approach – if we test every page it becomes bug testing and we simply highlight more examples of the issues found, but the solutions remain the same.
- Do you have the time to fix the issues?
I believe this is one of the central questions. It’s not easy to have a dedicated resource to implement all the recommendations and for most people this fits in around other work and can take months to implement. If you’ve any concerns over resource the sooner you understand the scale and amount of work needed the better chance you have of succeeding.
We have apps, what should I do to comply to the EU Directive?
All apps need to be accessible by 23rd September 2021. Apps can be accessible although the variations in how these are built means that accessibility needs careful considerations.
Due to the variations in how iOs, Android and Windows all work, a code solution that works for one platform wont work for another so we need to audit native apps across multiple platforms, examining the code to identify issues and provide solutions.
The one key message we like to get across is that accessibility needs to be maintained and giving staff the skills and resources needed is crucial to achieving and maintaining an accessible website.
There are deadlines as to when you need to comply, but the best plan of action is to create a road map.
Identify what knowledge and resources you have internally
- Work out the current gaps in accessibility and using either internal resource or external create a project plan to address these gaps.
- Do you need to look at making PDFs accessible?
- Do you have video content on your website?
- Is social media used, and do your staff know how to make the most of the accessibility features?
- Look to the future and how to enable staff to maintain accessibility.
- Get in touch, we’re happy to talk through options and pricing for you to then consider the best solutions and timings for your organisation.