Why do you need an accessibility statement?
As an organisation, an accessibility statement is incredibly important, for one it shows that you care about your users and about accessibility. But perhaps more importantly, it allows users to understand the provisions in place for those using assistive technology, and those who have disabilities.
In some situations, this stretched far beyond a moral choice to include disabled users and is a requirement by law. This is evident in the Public Sector Accessibility Regulations which require all UK public sector organisations to be accessible by 2020. Under these regulations, an accessibility statement must be provided.
You are also required to make sure that the website follows the principles of accessibility, they are the following:
- Perceivable – Meaning that users can identify content and interface elements. Whether this is by voice/sight/sound.
- Operable – Meaning that a user can control a digital service regardless of their disability.
- Understandable – Meaning that a user can comprehend content and the way the service they are using works easily.
- Robust – Meaning that the digital service should be designed to function on appropriate technologies.
Creating regulatory accessibility statement
Using Government guidelines for Accessibility Statements, the team at HeX can create an accurate Accessibility Statement based upon the findings of an accessibility audit or report.
Whether you have an audit developed from a third party, or one that we have carried out, we are able to compile these findings into a concrete accessibility statement that fits the criteria that has been included in UK Government template statements.
What we will include in your accessibility statement
Creating an accessibility statement can be a difficult and time consuming process for someone without the expert knowledge to translate WCAG standards into actionable steps. To be completely compliant with the new legislation, you need to be able to provide an accessibility statement on all digital services within your web architecture, this includes, but is not limited to:
- Mobile Applications (each application requires a different statement)
- Intranet systems
Aside from having to provide a statment for the above digital services, you also need to ensure that these are either:
- Fully accessible – the digital service meets WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliance in every area, apart from legacy content exceptions.
- Partially accessible – Some of the digital service is inaccessible, but a large proportion meets accessibility standards.
- Not accessible – A large proportion of the digital service is inaccessible for disabled users.
As well as determining these complex factors, we can work with you to create the Accessibility Statement, and include the following deliverables:
Commitment to accessibility
A brief paragraph or statement that clearly lays down your organisation’s commitment to accessibility.
Standards that have been applied
A statement of which specific standards have been tested against. Whether this is WCAG 2.1 or WCAG 2.0. Our own accessibility audits operate on the most recent Standards, so this would be WCAG 2.1.
The information for the person who should be contacted regarding any accessibility question that the user may have.
Limitations of accessibility
As part of the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations, you are required to include all features of your digital service that will not be accessible to those who are disabled. This will need to be a full list, incorporate any areas that users may face a challenge, even if the feature or area is considered ‘partially accessible’.
Measures taken in regard to accessibility
Information on how your organisation makes your digital service accessible, and what measures are in place to ensure accessibility, or to negate any frustrations from the user.
Detailed information on the digital environment’s compatibility with any browser or operating system, as well as information on browsers and operating systems that are specifically not supported.
Elements of inaccessibility
As part of an Accessibility Statement, you are required to relate each inaccessible element, to the relevant WCAG Success Criteria. There are more than 60 testable Success Criteria in the WCAG guidelines, and if an element is in breach of one or more of these Success Criteria, your Accessibility Statement will need to explicitly state which Criteria is breached.
You will also be required to include the date you intend to fix the error. We can help you build an Accessibility Roadmap, to plan in some incremental changes and help you fix the problems if you’re not sure where to start.
Other information that may be applicable to your organisation, such as which laws you are bound by, links to your accessibility roadmap and more.
Need an accessibility statement?
We can help tailor an accessibility statement to your organisation, working with the findings of your accessibility reports or audits to create an accurate and compliant accessibility statement. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help.