Who is this article for?
Users This is a guide for Users and Customers interested in Website Usability.
Permissions For Reference only, accurate at time of publishing.
EasySite is Ideagen's Content Management System (CMS) that provides customers with the ability to build a Self Service website, that provides a seamless 360˚ view of your organisation for all stakeholders, with Web for customers, Intranet for colleagues, and Extranet for partners; enterprise ready, mobile first and always accessible.
Choose from over 60 modules and enterprise-level applications for Web Apps, Forms, Documents, Directories, Search, Policies, Events, Online payments, eLearning and Portals.
Easysite do not offer a web accessibility testing/validation service. There are a number of free online tools which can provide this or paid specialist agencies who can identify and report on any issues that need attention. Issues that cannot be addressed via the CMS (by the customer) can be scoped by Ideagen and a cost for this work provided.
The Scottish and UK Governments have published regulations in 2018 which contain a list of standards for Websites, Intranets, Apps and digitally published content that all Site Owners are required to comply with.
This article is divided into three parts
1. Definition of Accessibility
Accessibility is the practice of making your websites usable by as many people as possible. We traditionally think of this as being about people with disabilities, but the practice of making sites accessible also benefits other groups such as those using mobile devices, or those with slow network connections.
Kevin White, Head of Accessibility with the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Designer, explains what the legislation means if you’re a public body and what you can do to meet the requirements, details can be found here: - https://blogs.gov.scot/digital/2019/09/23/accessibility-and-public-sector-websites/ -
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force September 2018. This challenges us to make sure the digital parts of the services we design and build for the people of Scotland are done so with accessibility at their core.
In reality this duty has existed since the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 and then the Equality Act in 2010. The difference is that the new act is much more descriptive on what we should be doing and by when.
What the new act means
The 2018 legislation asks anyone responsible for delivering public services via a website or an app to:
- evaluate the accessibility of websites and apps
- fix identified accessibility issues
- publish an accessibility statement
The deadlines vary based on whether it is a new or existing site, or an app:
- for new websites: 23 September 2019
- for existing websites: 23 September 2020
- for mobile applications: 23 June 2021
In this case, ‘new’ means published on or after 23 September 2018.
Internal websites and apps are included within these regulations. However, the regulations do not apply if the website or app was published before 23 September 2019 until there is a ‘substantial revision’
In England and Wales
The accessibility regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018. They say you must make your website or mobile app more accessible by making it ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’. You need to include and update an accessibility statement on your website.
Meeting government accessibility requirements
To meet government accessibility requirements, digital services must:
- meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1) as a minimum
- work on the most commonly used assistive technologies - including screen magnifiers, screen readers and speech recognition tools
- include people with disabilities in user research
- have an accessibility statement that explains how accessible the service is - you need to publish this when the service moves into public beta
If your service meets government accessibility requirements, then you’ll also be meeting the accessibility regulations that apply to public sector websites and mobile applications.
When you need to meet these regulations
There are different deadlines depending on the type of content your team manages.
If you created a new public sector website on or after 23 September 2018, you need to meet accessibility standards and should have published an accessibility statement by 23 September 2019. You need to review and update your statement regularly.
As well as helping everyone to use your website, thinking about accessibility upfront saves you money and time. It’s cheaper and quicker than fixing problems once something is built.
When you’re building a new site, you can choose software and use processes that build accessibility into what you do.
Most existing websites that were published before 23 September 2018 need to comply with the accessibility regulations by 23 September 2020.
Intranets and extranets need to comply from when there are significant changes to them.
You may not have to meet the requirements for your whole website or app if doing so would be a disproportionate burden - for example, if it’s very expensive to make even simple changes and those changes would bring very limited benefits to disabled people.
If you’re not sure what would be disproportionate in your situation, talk to your legal adviser.
You might need to do things earlier than 23 September 2020 if you:
- make substantial changes to the design or code
- create new features
- create a subdomain
If you’re using an agile approach to redeveloping an existing website, you can make accessibility improvements as part of your approach to iteration. This is covered in the Government site guidance on how to approach fixing problems.
Other websites that are useful in understanding what is required: -
https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/ - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, this gives information on Strategies, standards, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.
https://accessibility.campaign.gov.uk/ - A government site that help you decide what public sector bodies need to do to meet the new regulations.
https://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk/gov-uk-standards-and-guidelines/ - UK government Standards and publishing guidelines.
Please follow the links below to see examples of websites we know of that have a good and clear Accessibility statement: -