Absolutely. It is a myth that accessible websites are text only or cater for the lowest common denominator. There is no reason why an accessible website should be any worse or better looking than a site that is not accessible.

Whether your website is well designed or not is down to the talents of the Web designer employed to the do the job, not whether it is accessible or not.

How will I know if my site is accessible or not?

It is generally accepted that if your site conforms to the good practice outlined in the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you have demonstrated your commitment to making your site accessible.

Evidence from court cases in other countries with similar legislation suggest that the W3C Guidelines are likely to be used as the main way to measure accessibility of an organisations’ website.

What accessibility level is required?

To be safe, you should aim to ensure your website meets at least Priority 2 of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

  • The European Union recommend that member states’ websites conform to at least Priority 2 of the W3C/WCAG.
  • UK Government recommend that government websites should achieve Level AA compliance.

What are accessibility levels?

The W3C WCAG are a series of checkpoints designed to ensure your site will be more accessible to disabled people. The checkpoints are grouped into different levels of compliance.

  • Priority 1: If your website does not meet this standard, ‘one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document’
  • Priority 2: If your website does not meet this standard, ‘one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document’.
  • Priority 3: If your website does not meet this standard, ‘one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document’.

How can I test my site?

There are many organisations who will carry out an accessibility audit of your website (search the GAWDS website for examples). If you have in-house website design expertise seeking appropriate training may be the best way to help ensure your website will be accessible.

Is there an ongoing process to maintain an accessible site?

You should check the accessibility of your website regularly to ensure that you are providing an accessible service to your customers.

Appendix A

Links and resources related to the questions.


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