Designing Accessibility for the Public Sector
Research and discovery will always form the foundation of our project development. No matter the size or complexity scale, conducting user, competitor and internal analysis allows 6B to gain first-hand insight into what makes your company different, your offering better, and your audience unique.
Every project is different, and should be handled as so, but some elements we see crop up more often than others during research across similar sectors – one of those is the necessity to integrate intelligent accessibility for Public Sector projects.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility predominantly concerns public-facing developments, like websites and apps, but isn’t exclusive to.
It’s the process of integrating tools and considered design so that users who are less abled, for instance those who have visual impairments, can still access and navigate the system with ease. This not only allows a larger number of people to engage with your site, improving traffic scores, but means that those who would benefit can easily navigate your offering and engage with products and services most relevant to them.
Though accessibility should be considered in almost all customer-facing developments, its far more apparent in public sector digital assets as they cater to large groups of diverse audiences and are subject to their own accessibility standards.
6B has worked with a number of public sector clients on the development of customer-facing websites so we’ve become pretty familiar with the tools and designs most suitable to improving accessibility.
There are hundreds of ways that the public sector can help improve accessibility, and many of them don’t involve starting from the ground up. However, accessibility is more than just adding tools and features, and considering the accessibility of your design will also vastly improve the UX.
Here are a few of the most common that 6B have used to help the public sector improve their accessibility ratings:
- CMS – If your site is built on an off-the-shelf CMS, research about the features that CMS offers is crucial as some will offer more of better accessibility features.
- Features – There are loads of accessibility-friendly features that can help improve your site. Tools like Browsealoud, Recite Me and translation software are incredibly flexible and easy to manage.
- Design – Probably the most cost-effective way to improve accessibility, there are loads of design elements to consider like colour, typography, spacing, image use and more. Accessible design doesn’t mean compromising on aesthetic or your brand but it does mean utilising intelligent sitemaps and page formats to consider both accessibility and aesthetic in harmony.
- Alt Text – Including clear and oceanside image alt-text is especially important for demonstrative images like infographics and diagrams. This isn’t necessary for anything purely decorative but is important to help users understand the point and message of any other images.
- Descriptive Text Links – It’s pretty common to simply insert a link underneath the text ‘click here’ but this isn’t necessarily for visually impaired users who use screen readers to scan for text (we’ve all done it). Use more concise and descriptive texts to front a link.
There are, of course, far more ways to improve accessibility, like the use of sign posting and displaying data, and all are paramount in helping your use find the content that is most important to them.
Web Design Leeds
6B have worked with a variety of public sector clients, from Public Health England and NHS Trusts to Bradford District Council and more, and we understand what is important to you. For more information on what services we offer and how we can help you become more accessible to your audience, take a look at our Services page.