In accordance with the EU Web Accessibility Directive, all public service websites are required to be accessible to people with disabilities and have an accessibility statement outlining what has been done to ensure everyone can access online content and indicating any content that is not accessible.
Site admins need to take responsibility for testing the accessibility of their sites and make any amendments necessary. An Introduction to Digital Accessibility training module is available to all members of staff and is required to ensure new and existing websites are accessibility friendly.
Please also make use of the available resources in the Resources hub: Accessibility toolkit once you have completed the mandatory training.
Testing site accessibility
If you already have a site, please initially refer to this W3C guide for Easy Checks – A First Review of Web Accessibility.
We then recommend testing your site in various ways. Here are a few tools you can use to gauge how accessible your site is:
- https://wave.webaim.org/ (Heed the red errors more than anything)
- https://webaccessibility.com/ (This is a page by page checker)
- https://web.dev/measure/ (This will check other areas as well, with only the accessibility section needed)
- https://achecker.ca/checker/index.php (take with a pinch of salt and just use as a backup)
- Chrome extensions Siteimprove and Axe are also handy.
Please note that these website scans & Chrome extensions are likely to give you different results – one may tell you that your site is fine and another may flag a few things, so we would recommend that you check multiple sources.
Be especially aware of errors rather than recommendations. It is good practice to implement a recommendation, but not essential. However, if you encounter an error, please contact the WordPress team at email@example.com.
Issues such as not using ALT tags, heading structures, and colour contrast ratio are common and should be addressed wherever possible.
Alt-text (Alternative text) is a short piece of descriptive text associated with an image that describes the image to someone using a Screen Reader. The text may also be displayed if images are turned off and are referenced by search engines. Effective alt-text therefore needs to be sufficiently descriptive to clearly convey what the image represents.
Please use this link for help on writing useful alt-text: https://axesslab.com/alt-texts/
Alt-text in WordPress
To add Alt-text to an image navigate to your media library and click on the image. On the right of the image you will see the Attachment Details, which will include Alternative Text, Title, Caption & Description. Alternative text (Alt-text) is specifically used as a visual description of the image for those who are unable to see it.
Page builders – DIVI
Some sites may rely on page builders for a more custom appearance or functionality. DIVI is the page builder provided on this network. If you use DIVI on your site, then please make sure you also have the DIVI Accessibility plugin enabled as well.
Also, please be aware that the default DIVI button colour will be flagged as a contrast error. You will therefore need to change this if you have added buttons to your site using DIVI.
If you are unsure about the contrast between text and background colour use, you can use this tool to check: https://contrastchecker.com/ .
Anything that cannot be fixed or amended will need to be declared in the site’s accessibility statement, clearly explaining to users why they might not be able to fully access specific content, how these issues are going to be resolved and any alternative options for accessing information.
Here is an example accessibility statement from this site and an example accessibility statement from a fictional public sector site or app (gov.uk).
Overall, we’re aiming for AA rating, so don’t worry about the AAA rating at the moment.
Support and training
If you require support or have any questions about any aspect of accessibility, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more about making the design and functionality of your site more accessibility-friendly, you can also complete the UX foundation: Accessibility course on LinkedIn Learning.
Academics creating digital resources for teaching and learning should also refer to the Digital Education Accessibility Toolkit.