WCAG – Web Accessibility Guide

Good user experiences for everyone

Web accessibility is about good user experiences

Users have different prerequisites for using a website, and almost 20% of the UK population is challenged in their digital presence. Digitally challenged users are people with sensory, visual, auditory and cognitive challenges, which can be permanent, temporary or situational. For example, a user may have a permanent visual impairment, which means they need help to ‘see’ a website.

At Novicell, we work with web accessibility because it makes sense to create websites that give all users good user experiences. Public organisations are covered by the law regarding web accessibility, WCAG 2.1, which is about ensuring equal access for all, and it won’t be long before the law also applies to private companies.

Accessibility for all

Help with web accessibility work

Checklist for the editor

In this checklist, we have compiled best practice for working with web accessibility as an editor of a website. Use it in your daily work to secure a site that is accessible to everyone.

See the 8 tips for the editor

Checklist for the designer

In this checklist, we have gathered good advice and tips for those who work with the design of websites and apps, and want to ensure that your design meets the requirements for web accessibility.

See checklist for the designer

Useful Tools

There are a wide range of digital tools that can help with web accessibility – whether you work in development, content or design. We've gathered the best here. See our recommended tools

When will my organisation be covered by web accessibility legislation?

‘New’ public websites

that launched after 23 September 2018 will be covered by legislation as of 23 September 2019

 

‘Older’ public websites

launched earlier than 23 September 2018 will be covered by the law as of 23 September 2020

Public mobile apps

will be covered as of 23 June 2021

Private company websites

Will be covered from June 2025

Hit more of your target audience with higher web accessibility

The Web Accessibility Act ensures that as many people as possible can use websites and mobile applications. The basis of the law is an EU directive that refers to the international standard WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). It breaks down into four key components:

Perception

(eg. images must be readable by screen reader)

Functionality

(eg. navigation via keyboard)

Comprehensibility

(eg. offer error suggestions in search field)

Robustness

(eg. correct coding so that the code is read uniformly)

WCAG works with 3 levels of compliance for web accessibility

All four focus areas contain additional guidelines and success criteria, which help ensure that the content of a website is accessible to all. WCAG are guidelines that describe how websites should be designed and coded so that it can be used by everyone.

What WCAG level should I live up to?

Public websites must comply with level AA. Specifically, web accessibility is, among other things, about making sure that all pages: contain headings in logical sections from H1 to H6; have link text that states the destination (it is not sufficient to use ‘Click here’); and have colour contrast between text and background.

Web accessibility is about common sense and discipline, understanding the needs of all users, and it requires focused work both in the development and maintenance of sites.

A (lowest compliance level)

AA (medium compliance level)

AAA (highest compliance level)

The benefits of working with better web accessibility

1 in 5 people are digitally challenged, and therefore it makes good sense to work with web accessibility. Public organisations must ensure that everyone has access to their websites, and private companies have huge gains to make by making their websites accessible.

When your website meets the requirements for web accessibility, it is not only an advantage for those up to 20% who live with a disability, it benefits all your visitors. And there are many further benefits to working with web accessibility.

High web accessibility provides:

Better user experience

Increased website traffic with better search engine rankings

Higher conversion rates

Increased performance

Higher rate of self-service users vs. phone and mail exchanges

Web accessibility is a multidisciplinary exercise and must be maintained on an ongoing basis

At Novicell, we work with coherent user journeys, so web accessibility is a key element because many users are digitally challenged. Web accessibility is an interdisciplinary process that involves strategy, design and development.

The strategy forms the overall framework for your website, and through design you make sure to use the right tools to help users. The development focuses on robust code that helps both people and machines.

The methods of working with web accessibility

Quantitative automated tests provide a quick overview and make it possible to prioritise efforts, but they must be supplemented by the qualitative methods to ensure real web accessibility.

Qualitative expert assessment

Qualitative user tests

Quantitative automated testing (accessibility tools)

Novicell strengthens web accessibility for both public and private organisations

We work with many aspects of web accessibility and have been doing so for several years. We know that user experience, traffic and performance are closely linked to web accessibility, and they are all crucial factors in whether a website works as intended.

At Novicell, we can help you with the following:

Accessibility testing of existing sites

Guidance on accessibility

Development of accessible websites

Training of web editors

Service agreement regarding web accessibility

Web accessibility is equal parts UX, technology and a process to work by

A website can be developed to comply with level AA (as per the law), but in a very short time, new or revised content on the site can mean it is no longer compliant. We find that the number of web editors can often be a challenging factor with web accessibility, because it can be difficult for the individual editors to see when content does not follow the accessibility principles in terms of structure and content. Therefore, it’s important to continuously work with web accessibility and keep a focus on the topic with designers, developers and editors.

Do your customers encounter a user-friendly and accessible website when they contact you digitally?

Most organisations have an ambition for a good, simple and user-friendly service, digital or not. For public organisations, civic service is about the good civic experience. In addition, the theme has political and managerial attention because public authorities are subject to the law that everyone must have equal access to the authorities' websites.

Let Novicell provide an initial assessment so you can get complete control of your website.

If you want to know more about web accessibility and how to comply with the legislation on the WCAG principles, please contact me.