New law to replace EU Directive on Website Accessibility
- Are you planning a digital project which involves an app or a website?
- Are you funded by Government (local authority, national etc).
- Are you aware that the EU Directive on website accessibility is now UK Law?
What is happening?
There is now a law for website accessibility in the UK. These are called ‘The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018’ and implement the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications.
The Government Digital Service have provided resources and sharing opportunities to support organisations to do this. These resources have links to meet ups and information, which you can find on this post.
We at DCN are also here to support you in setting up user groups and help you create and implement your access into your organisation.
Further information Government Digital Service: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/24/how-were-helping-public-sector-websites-meet-accessibility-requirements/
Government Digital Service: What does Accessibility Mean?
Ok, how long have I got?
There are key dates to consider in relation to this law:
You, as an organisation need to comply from 23 September 2019.
All existing public sector websites (this includes any externally funded community projects by a Government funded i.e. public sector organisation) by 22 September 2020. All mobile applications by 22 June 2021.
|What’s covered||Deadline to comply with the regulations|
|New public sector websites (published after 22 September 2018)||22 September 2019|
|All other public sector websites||22 September 2020|
|Public sector mobile applications||22 June 2021|
What do I have to do?
Meet the accessibility standard and provide an access statement (there will be a template for this in early 2019).
Scroll to ‘How to do this and how GDS can help’ via this link https://bit.ly/2qrL4ya on information regarding procurement and evaluation.
Check your website: Does it reach the AA standard?
There are resources on this post to help you. Also it is important test your website via a user group.
We at DCN can support you with developing user groups and there are companies such as Ability Net and those listed in resources that can help you.
Write an access statement for your website.
There will be a template available in early 2019. Subscribe to https://gds.blog.gov.uk/subscribe/ for further details.
I’ve used a consultant, and it says some does, some doesn’t. What shall I do?
Your organisation needs to provide an access statement to tell the web visitor the areas that don’t meet AA standard and where they can get tools and information in order to make it to AA.
Ensure that your digital project has accessibility from the pre-planning and throughout the project, enabling time to test with users. See link: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/testing-for-accessibility
What happens if I don’t?
There are opportunities here to develop your website offer to increase engagement to your organisation. Your organisation may be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
There are specific tasks that are low cost and simple such as captioning and use of accessibility settings on social media: https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/11/19/captioning-your-films-and-videos-stagetext/ and using captions on Youtube https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2018/06/07/how-to-be-more-accessible-on-social-media-snapchat-vimeo/
Organisations using tweetdeck: https://9to5mac.com/2018/07/03/tweetdeck-image-descriptions/
Using podcasts? Each podcast should have a script, remember to transcribe this as part of your online offer.
There is also new software that transcribes audio information which is available online. Ensure to check for accuracy.
Resources: Government Resources for Accessibility
Join the government accessibility google group
Over 800 civil servants with an interest in accessibility from over 50 government departments, agencies and organisations:
Upcoming accessibility regulations
Read the accessibility guidance in the Service Manual
- Meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) as a minimum
- Work on the most commonly used assistive technologies
- Include people with disabilities in user research
A team responsibility
Guidance for User Researchers
Guidance for Content Designers and Publishers
Writing content for everyone (Blog)
Guidance for Designers and Developers
What to do when
Understand common access needs early
- Ashleigh: partially sighted screen reader user
- Christopher: user with rheumatoid arthritis
- Claudia: partially sighted screen magnifier user
- Pawel: user with Asperger’s
- Ron: older user with multiple conditions
- Saleem: profoundly deaf user
- Simone: dyslexic user
Resources to help you design, build and test accessible interfaces
Testing a website
Learn more about accessibility
Sign up for accessibility workshops
Come to the government accessibility meetups
The meetups happen every 3 – 4 months and are promoted in the Google Group
Write ups of previous events
- October 2017 – Talking about printing, security and living with sight loss at the Cross-Government Accessibility Meetup
- May 2017 – Talking user research and designing for deafness at the Cross-Government Accessibility meetup
Sensing Culture has been a three-year multi-partner project with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as the lead partner, and funded by £438,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with one mission at its heart – to remove the barriers that prevent blind and partially sighted people (BPS) from accessing their heritage.
It was born from an identified need within access organisations’, as well as the heritage sector at large, that more could and should be done to facilitate good museum experiences for people who experience sight loss.
Link to information, case studies and films here: https://www.sensingculture.org.uk/
Accessible Conference Guidance
These guidelines and tips come from Government Digital Service:
What evacuation plans do you have in place in getting people safely out of the building? See: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/422202/9446_Means_of_Escape_v2_.pdf
For further information on captioning and BSL go to:
Vocaleyes: Making your presentations more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
Ensure that handouts are available for neurodivergent people in advance.
Ensure that people are able to record the presentations to support their note taking.
This new report was published in May 2018 and written as part of the AHRC funded Connected Communities project: ‘Around the Toilet’.
Around the Toilet has key findings taken in collaboration with groups of people between April 2015 to February 2018 in what makes an accessible toilet space.
The original consultation group consisted of people who identified as trans, queer and disabled, carers, parents, workers and people whose religious beliefs impacted on toilet use. As well as urban planners and architects in the context of environmental design.
Key Findings (from aroundthetoilet.com) include:
- Toilet provision in the UK is currently inadequate for a wide range of people, due to both relational and functional flaws. We need more public toilets, more accessible designs, and different attitudes and ways of understanding the space and our fellow occupants.
- Many trans and disabled people experience significant difficulties in accessing a safe, usable and comfortable toilet away from home.
- Toilets labelled as ‘accessible’ are often in fact inaccessible for many disabled users for a range of reasons.
- There is a lack of toilet research, particularly in the UK, which takes seriously trans people’s experiences of harassment and violence in binary gendered toilets.
- There is a need for more all-gender toilet provision (sometimes known as ‘gender neutral’ toilets). This would benefit a range of people including: parents with children of a different gender; those who care for people of a different gender; some disabled people who have a personal assistant of a different gender; and some people whose gender is questioned in the toilet, including some trans and non-binary people (and, to a lesser extent, some cisgender people).
- A ‘one size fits all’ approach to toilet design doesn’t work – there is no one toilet design to suit all users’ needs. Nevertheless, consideration of all users and moves towards improvement are crucial.
The report features potential solutions and designs, however as recommended in the report. All designs must be in consultation with relevant agencies.
The full report is here:http://shura.shu.ac.uk/21258/1/Around%20the%20Toilet%20Report%20final%201.pdf
Guidelines for Digital Accessibility (including Audio Description on film):
See also Stagetext guidelines for adding captions to increase further access: https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/11/19/captioning-your-films-and-videos-stagetext/
This is a great video by our friends at Barclays Access on common accessibility myths which are common across the heritage sector and responses similar to ours.
This is a great film on the importance of inclusive practice in design. Go to our links pages and talk to us about inclusive practice in your museum or heritage organisation.
Terminology is important, because words reflect our attitudes and beliefs. However, some of the terms we tend to use may not reflect how some disabled people see themselves. Using the right words matters.
This is not about ‘political correctness’ but using wording and language which disabled people and disabled people’s organisations working to promote the social model of disability find acceptable.
Some negative terminology to be avoided includes the following examples
- Afflicted with This conveys a tragic or negative view about disability.
- Suffering from This confuses disability with illness and also implies that a disability may be a personal burden. Increasingly, disabled people view their disability as a positive rather that negative experience
- The blind Lumping everyone together in this way is felt by many to take away their individuality. The most appropriate term to use here is ‘people with visual impairments’, or ‘blind people’
- Victim of This again plays to a sense that disability is somehow a tragedy
- Cripple or crippled by Use the term ‘the person has …’
- Wheelchair bound Disabled people are not tied into their wheelchairs. People are wheelchair users or someone who uses a wheelchair. A wheelchair offers the freedom to move around and is a valuable tool
- Deaf and dumb This phrase is demeaning and inaccurate. Many deaf people use sign language to communicate and dumb implies that someone is stupid. Use ‘a person with a hearing impairment’, or ‘a deaf person’, or ‘sign language user’
- The disabled There is no such thing as the disabled. Use the term ‘disabled people’
- People with disabilities The term ‘disabled people’ is the preferred term within the social model of disability. ‘People with disabilities’ suggests that the disability ‘belongs’ to the disabled person, rather than ‘disabled person’ which accurately infers that society disables the individual, thus adopting the social model of disability
- Handicapped This term is inappropriate, with images of begging and disabled people being cap in hand
- Invalid The term literally means not valid
- Able bodied The preferred term is ‘non-disabled’. ‘Able -bodied’ suggests that all disabilities are physical and ignores unseen disabilities, and that disabled people are not able
Some phrases are perfectly acceptable. People who use wheelchairs do ‘go for a walk’. It is perfectly acceptable to say to a person with a visual impairment ‘I will see you later’. Deaf people are unlikely to take offence at ‘Did you hear about…’ Common everyday phrases of this kind are unlikely to cause offence.
Disability and Equality Consultant and Trainer
Adapted from Manchester City Council’s website: www.manchester.gov.uk/disability/language/