The problems of a web editor
What is the problem
Websites should now meet the web accessibility guidelines WCAG 2.1 set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Also under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 in the UK. This causes problems for a part-time web editor like me.
This means that the government websites must abide by certain rules in:
- the way posts are written
- the design
- and 14 other areas.
Why is this coming about
Our aging population is forced to rely on the internet for basic access to important information. So, web technologies must evolve to meet the needs of these users to ensure they don’t become alienated from society, cut off from important news, resources, or social network communications.
This is especially important for those with dementia or cognitive impairments related to strokes or brain injuries. It’s also crucial to provide more accessible interfaces for those with intellectual challenges in the form of autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, or memory and reasoning impairments, just to name a few.
We need to change how we view impairments or disabilities. Instead of these defining a person’s health condition, we should view them as a mismatched human interaction.
Doing this helps change the thought process going forward in adopting an inclusive-Web-design-first approach. Also, remember not all impairments are necessarily permanent. This is true if you’ve ever had your arm in a cast or a sling with your dominant hand encumbered. Your ability to access the web via keyboard or even a touch screen can be impaired at any time.
How our website is changing
The good news is that the website is already 92% compliant. However some work will be done on the following:
At present, the Village Website is written in a “conversation style” with the odd “acerbic comment” thrown in for good measure. Computers do not like sentences using a “passive voice” and I need to use more things like “transition words“. Unfortunately, according to the software, even this page has too much “passive voice”
Up to now the website has been laid out for looks only. Although adequate for most readers, people with visual needs or people with artificial intelligence computers or people using a Text to Speech (TTS) web browser, need pages and content laid out in a specific order. Likewise, all pages and pictures must be clearly labelled so computers can find them.
On the Homepage, a new Wheelchair Icon has been added on the left. This accesses a new Accessibility Menu to help readers with impaired vision. Please let me know if you use it and find it useful. Other “behind the scenes” work has already been done to old pages and posts using new software to correct old mistakes.
I don’t mean to bore you with the above, but I thought that you might be interested. The Parish Council strives to keep the website up to date, informative, legal and compliant.