Building an Accessible Website

31 January, 2018

The Agency has been redeveloping its website, which is the main source of information about all the Agency projects and activities over the past 20 years. The new website will be launched in March 2018. All existing web areas have been edited and re-structured with accessibility and usability in mind. The new website contains many images to make it more visual and easier to navigate.

Information accessibility is a major priority for the Agency. We aim to make all our materials accessible to all users. We have taken various steps to ensure our future website is also fully accessible. These include:

  • engaging a web development company to design our website in compliance with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0;
  • co-operating with an additional external web development company specialising in accessibility;
  • carrying out surveys of our website users and tailoring the website to their needs;
  • adding an accessibility tool to the website which helps users control the page;
  • external user testing with assistive technology users, with participants testing the site’s design and logic during development.

Web development and user testing

Such a user testing session took place recently, in order to test the website for people who use assistive technologies. Partially-sighted magnifier users and a blind screen reader user took part. The test users went through a detailed ‘user journey’, where they were asked to interact with the website, perform small tasks and find certain information. They did so with the help of assistive technologies. These included built-in screen magnifiers, which zoom in and enlarge everything on the screen, and speech output, which reads out the text on the screen, including information about the structure and what the images contain.

Test users had the chance to test and give us their overall impressions of usability and accessibility and potential barriers. They tested the new website’s accessibility tool, the navigation, design and logic, as well as the content. They also were asked to share their experience and enjoyment levels during and after using the site. Their feedback was positive and they were impressed by how much the Agency cares about accessibility. The Agency team, along with the web developers, have taken the test users’ comments and recommendations into account in finalising the new website’s content and design.

A test user explaining how the magnifying tool works on the screen
A test user explaining how the magnifying tool works on the screen
information accessibility
information and communication technology

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