Accessibility consultancy – what is it and why do you need it?
Published: February 7, 2024
Ensuring that your online content is accessible isn’t merely a legal obligation—it’s a reflection of your dedication to inclusivity and your forward thinking. As an experienced accessibility consultant, I provide custom solutions to guide you through the intricacies of digital accessibility, offering everything from comprehensive audits to straightforward practical advice. In this short article, I explain what digital accessibility is, why you need it, and how to get started.
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility is about crafting online spaces – and content delivered via computer interfaces – where everyone, regardless of their abilities can engage with the content. For example, for your website, it means ensuring every aspect is welcoming and accessible to visitors, whether they are using a screen reader, navigating with a keyboard, or facing other challenges.
The essence of digital accessibility—in the wider sense—means designing and developing digital content in a way that breaks down barriers and opens up avenues of access for everyone. This is done by ensuring the format of content is designed to be flexible, i.e., it can change to fit the needs of the individual, not the other way around. We don’t force the individual to change to fit with the way we present our content.
For example, when digital content is accessible, it will be possible for a blind person, using a screen reader, to have your content read out to them, including descriptions of any image or photographs on the page. And those descriptions will be equivalent to the function the image or photograph plays for sighted visitors.
When we talk about digital accessibility, we’re not just talking about ticking boxes or meeting legal requirements (although that’s important too!). We’re talking about fostering a digital world where everyone feels included, empowered, and able to fully participate in the online experience.
Accessibility – what’s in it for you?
First and foremost, there’s the matter of reputation. By prioritising digital accessibility, you’re not just showing the world that you care about inclusivity—you’re also demonstrating your commitment to excellence. You are telling your audience, your customers, your partners, and your competitors that you mean business when it comes to inclusion and equality.
Accessibility and the law
Then, there’s the matter of legal compliance. In many jurisdictions, digital accessibility isn’t just a suggestion—it’s the law. By ensuring your content meets accessibility standards, you’re not just avoiding potential legal headaches down the road—you’re also safeguarding your brand’s reputation and integrity. In the UK that means complying with The Equality Act 2010.
By reaching a wider audience, you’re opening up new revenue streams, tapping into markets you might have overlooked, and ultimately, boosting your bottom line. If you are a charity, a non-profit, or a public sector organisation you are getting your message out to more of your potential audience.
When you prioritise accessibility, you’re also opening the door to new ideas and possibilities. You are flexing your creative muscles, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and ultimately, setting yourself apart from your competition.
So, in a nutshell, the advantages of digital accessibility for content producers are clear: enhanced reputation, legal compliance, increased audience and/or revenue opportunities, and a boost to innovation. It’s a win for you and for those who consume your content and services.
How do you ensure your content is accessible?
One of the first things you can do is to assess where you are right now, i.e., find out how accessible your current digital content is. A good way to do that is to commission an accessibility audit. For example, if you have a website and you want to know if it is accessible, an accessibility auditor can check it against the de facto standards that are used by governments across the world, i.e., the WCAG 2.1. (and WCAG 2.2 when it is adopted by governments).
Accessibility consultancy: take advantage of my decades of expertise and experience
WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These are the guidelines published by the W3C. You will be reassured to know, that I provided feedback on version two of the guidelines, in my previous role as Director of the Guide of Accessible Website Designers. I have detailed knowledge that I can put to good use when assessing the accessibility of websites and other digital content, including PDFs and MS Word documents, videos, and dynamic content. I have been working in the area of accessible website design since 1996, written multiple books on the subject, creating training courses (check out my bestselling WCAG 2 Accessibility online course) and given advice to 100s of organisations. I’ve also got over 20 years experience of building websites – so I understand the problems you meet and need to solve.
A Website Accessibility Audit example: what does a website access audit consist of?
A WCAG 2.2 AA accessibility audit
I WCAG 2.2 audit of your website tests it against 56 WCAG A & AA checkpoints on a variety of different platforms (including mobile and tablet), using a variety of accessibility tools (e.g., screen reader, keyboard, magnifier, colour contrast changers) and different browsers. Both automated and manual testing are used as part of the audit.
My website audits include feedback from disabled people
When I carry out an accessibility audit I ask two of my disabled colleagues will give feedback on the accessibility of your website. John Turley is blind and uses a screen reader on both his mobile phone and laptop; Ruby Shah has a visual impairment and uses a variety of accessibility tools including a screen magnifier and contrast changer. They will also test the site to ensure that it is keyboard-only accessible.
You get a detailed report including:
- An executive summary, highlighting the most important issue to fix.
- A table showing the percentages of checkpoints that have passed failed, or are not applicable (N/A).
- A list of all relevant checkpoints with notes relating to any issues found and suggested fixes.
- A full checkpoint summary table showing whether each has passed, failed, or is N/A
- The full unedited notes from my disabled colleagues. I provide unedited notes because they will give you a good sense of how a disabled person interacts with your website content. Relevant parts of these notes are also incorporated into the checkpoint notes.
The length of the report can vary depending on the size of the website, the amount of issues found, and their complexity.
An accessibility consultancy service designed to help you
An accessibility audit is your first step to ensuring you are complying with relevant equality laws and reach more poeple with your content and your message.
“We requested a root-and-branch evaluation of our website to help inform its development, and in a short space of time Jim and his fantastic team put together an incredibly comprehensive report that fulfilled every aspect of our brief. He was able to identify specific instances of non-compliance, as well as highlight recurring themes and issues and make recommendations to ensure that our web presence not only complies with WCAG AA standards but is fully optimised for usability. Moreover, the first-hand feedback from his auditors provided invaluable insight into the UX of users with disabilities. I’d be delighted to recommend Jim and his colleagues to anyone looking to make their web presence accessible to the widest possible audience.”
Alex Norton (Communications Manager, CLOSER)
Contact me today to discuss your accessibility needs. I provide accessibility advice and support as well as practical services such as website and document accessibility auditing.
Tags: accessibility, accessibility auditing, accessibilty consultancy, accessible website design, compiance, consultancy, Digital accessibility, disabled people, equality act 2010, WCAG 2, WCAG 2.1, wcag 2.2
WCAG 2.2 – 2.5.7 Dragging Movements (Level AA) – A Summary
Published: February 6, 2024
The aim of this Success Criterion is to eliminate the need for precise dexterity when dragging dynamic elements on a web page. The reality is that not all users can accurately press, hold, and reposition a pointer simultaneously.
Those individuals who find such precise pointer movements problematic should get the same result as their dexterous colleagues, using just a single pointer. Individuals helped by this success criteria include website visitors using input devices like trackballs, head pointers, eye-gaze systems, or speech-controlled mouse emulators.
The WCAG 2.2 2.5.7 Success Criteria states:
This criterion excludes scrolling enabled by the user-agent (i.e., browser, screen reader, media players, mobile devices, and assistive technologies), and techniques like CSS overflow to create scrollable content sections. The CSS overflow property creates a scrollable content section with a webpage.
Alternatives for Dragging Movements on the Same Page
If an equivalent option allows single-pointer access without dragging, this Success Criterion is met. It doesn’t have to be the same component, as long as the functionality is equivalent. For instance, a colour wheel with a dragging indicator can be complemented by text fields for numerical input.
What is not included
The checkpoint does not include any scrollbars on the browser itself or draggle functionality that is native to the browser interface. It only applies to draggle content created by the website author.
Accessibility auditing and consultancy
I provide comprehensive digital content accessibility consultancy services, including an accessibility auditing of your websites and documents – measured against the WCAG 2.2 standard. Get in touch to ensure your content is accessible to your widest possible audience and meets equality legislation requirements.
Accessibility testing: Should you commission a manual accessibility WCAG 2 audit or use an automated accessibility tool?
Published: February 1, 2023
If you run a website in the UK, it must be accessible to disabled people, it is a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. But how do you know if your website is accessible or not? One way is to commission an accessibility audit by a professional WCAG 2 auditor. Alternatively, you can use one of the many free, or paid automated auditing tools.
So, why would you pay someone to audit your website when you can just use a free accessibility testing tool? In this short article, I explore the strengths and weaknesses of both of these options.
Automated accessibility testing tools – the strengths
WAVE, Lighthouse and axeTools, are some of the automated tools you can use to check for on-page accessibility issues. Their strengths are that they give you a quick overview of potential problems. For example, issues such as low colour contrast, missing form labels, empty headings or images without alternative text attributes. There’s no doubt they are useful, as even professional auditors use an array of such applications as part of their toolset. Speed, low cost and ease of use are ways in which these tools win out. However, they do have their weaknesses.
Weaknesses of automated accessibility testing tools
Automated accessibility tools can’t tell you if your website is accessible to disabled people in practice. I.e., will your site be fully compatible with access tools such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, colour contrast changers and so on? An automated auditing tools is unlikely to tell you anything about design elements that might make your site difficult to use, even if technically accessible.
For example, the location of important information on a page can have an impact on how easy content can be consumed. If all your important information is on the right-hand side of a page – that can easily be missed by a visitor using a screen magnifier. A person using a screen magnifier may only see a very small part of the screen at any one time – and they find it difficult to get overal context for your content. Ideally they prefer the most important content to be top-left on a page. That way they will find it first.
Are you vulnerable to a lawsuit?
An automated tool can find many access issues, but that doesn’t mean you are not at risk of breaking the Equality Act 2010 and finding yourself fighting a lawsuit on the grounds of discrimination against disabled people. For example, an automated tool can check if an image has a text description, but it can’t tell you if the description is accurate or appropriate. Only a human can do that. The guidelines don’t say you have to provide the same content to disabled people as non-disabled people, but it must be equivalent. So, an accurate text alternative is really important for a blind visitor accessing your content using a screen reader.
Principally, the major advantage is that you will be interacting with a real human. Someone you can talk to and discuss your requirements with. As a result, they can tailor their services to your exact needs. You can ask questions, clarify issues and crucially, get help with implementing solutions to any accessibility issues found.
A professional accessible auditor knows the ins and outs of the legal framework within which your organisation must operate. Including whether or not you need to have an accessibility statement on your site and how to write that statement, if you do. Accessibility statements are documents that have a strict, legally defined format.
Auditors are experts on the WCAG 2 guidelines, which are the de facto accessibility guidelines used by most governments, including the UK Government. The WCAG 2 document is a complex, large, jargon packed and highly technical document. It is not very accessible, in the more general sense of the word.
Input from disabled people
When you commission a manual audit, often the team includes disabled people. These are people with first-hand experience of what make a website accessible or inaccessible. And unlike the automated audit, a manual audit is not a tick-box process, it often includes assessing the general usability of your site, and finding problems that are impossible for automated tools to find.
Downsides to a manual accessibility audit
The downsides are that manual audits take longer to complete, anywhere from two days to 10 days, depending on the size and complexity of your website. And they are not free. However, loss of credibility also has a cost if someone decides to complain that your website is not accessible to them.
So those are some of the things to consider when deciding whether to use an automated tool or commission an audit from a professional auditor. Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to chat about your specific accessibility needs.
* If you are a government agency or receive government funding you also have additional requirements under the public sector equality duty, i.e., you must also ‘anticipate the needs’ of your visitors. A professional auditor will know what you have to have on your website to fulfil the requirement.
Introduce yourself to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Published: August 8, 2014
The Web Accessibility Guidelines and associated documents published by the The World Wide Web Consortiums (W3C) are a fantastic resource, and recognised as the ‘standard’ reference documents for those building accessible sites.
However, they can be difficult for the beginner to understand, and can seem rather overwhelming in the breadth of issues they cover.
In this tip, I suggest an alternative ‘entry point’ to learning the guidelines; the ‘WAI Web Content Accessibility Curriculum‘, a website created by Chuck Letourneau and Geoff Freed.
On the above site you will find lots of examples and explanations for each checkpoint – plenty of help to get you started.
Now I know that WCAG 2 has been released, but I also know that it is just trying to do the exactly the same job as WCAG 1 – just using a different approach. Making your website accessible is the key point; use whatever set of guidelines you find most helpful in achieving that task; and don’t feel that you are missing something if those guidelines are the WCAG 1 guidelines.
Another resource worth checking out is the WCAG 1 training course I wrote a while back for the Guild of Accessible Website Designers.
Feedback from website design and WCAG 2 accessibility audit clients
Published: June 7, 2013
Sealed Envelope Ltd
Jim at extremely short notice kindly provided us with an informal audit of one of our web-based demo randomisation systems. The audit was extremely comprehensive, clear and demonstrated his expertise in the area of accessible web design. From our initial contact Jim was professional, extremely helpful, attentive, responsive and a pleasure to work with. Jim is extremely knowledgeable and skilled and we would highly recommend him. Peter Madden, Project Manager, Sealed Envelope Ltd
CLOSER – the home of longitudinal research
We requested a root-and-branch evaluation of our website to help inform its development, and in a short space of time Jim and his fantastic team put together an incredibly comprehensive report that fulfilled every aspect of our brief.
He was able to identify specific instances of non-compliance, as well as highlight recurring themes and issues and make recommendations to ensure that our web presence not only complies with WCAG AA standards but is fully optimised for usability. Moreover, the first-hand feedback from his auditors provided an invaluable insight into the UX of users with disabilities.
I’d be delighted to recommend Jim and his colleagues to anyone looking to make their web presence accessible to the widest possible audience. Alex Norton (Communications Manager, CLOSER)
Talking About Tomorrow – A Contact microsite
Jim’s involvement was absolutely central in enabling us to get this very ambitious website up and running. From first discussions to final launch, he supported us and worked with us to create a unique information hub for parents and carers of young disabled people. The feedback we have received since the launch has justified the time, attention to detail and energy invested in the project, and we could not have delivered anything on this scale without Jim’s creativity, experience and sound advice. Thank you Jim!
Some of the comments we have received:
“Overall I think it’s brilliant. I liked the appearance and layout. A great colour scheme, very readable font and clear headings to the different areas. It was easy to find my way around and get to where I wanted. I loved the Jargon Buster!” – Parent
“I absolutely love this website! We’ll definitely be referring parents to it and using it ourselves.” – Parent support agency
“It looks amazing and is so easy to navigate, and there are no obvious mistakes I can see. I love it and you should be so so proud of the amount of hard work you’ve put into it.” – Parent support agency
“A friend heard about your site on 5 live and suggested I have a look. Wow! I’m very glad she did.” – Parent
Jim provided us with a comprehensive audit of one of the websites we manage allowing us to iron out all the accessibility issues that existed. The informal report was clear, complete and was obviously the result of a meticulous survey of the website. It was provided within days of requesting it.
Matt Barber, Toco Digital
Jim provided us with auditing and training services to help the University’s websites and applications meet new government regulations on digital accessibility. His reports were extremely thorough, and have provided an excellent basis for the University to offer better services to students, staff and the public. The training offered gave our staff an excellent insight into designing and developing for users with special requirements, and we look forward to providing an accessible digital experience to all users thanks to Jim’s help and expertise.
Ralph Mackenzie, Front-End Website Designer/Developer, University of Strathclyde
Stewart Readman Photography
Great communication during the whole website design process and excellent information gathering to determine what my requirements were for the site and what I wanted it to achieve. Very good after-sales service too with extensive tuition to help me update everything. Strongly recommend. Stewart Readman – Photography
‘Jim provided us with a comprehensive review of 4 of our key websites to ensure that they meet the guidelines regards accessibility. From initial meetings he set out the process that he and his team would follow to audit the sites, any information he required before starting and examples of the format in which we would receive the report and feedback. We were given drafts of each report before finalising the outcome of the audits and it was made clear where we needed to make improvements. Excellent communication throughout and a pleasure to work with.’
Graeme Clifton Coles Business Support Manager | Sustrans Scotland
Evenbreak – Helping talented disabled candidates and inclusive employers to find each other
We needed a new developer to take over our website, and as our customers are disabled people, it was crucial that the site should be as accessible as possible. Jim came highly recommended from experts in web accessibility, and so we engaged him to take over the Evenbreak site for us. However, Evenbreak is an online job board, and therefore a very complex site, with facilities for employers to pay for and post their roles, candidates to register and search for jobs, and many other complexities. Jim took all of this in his stride, having to understand the thinking of the previous developers very quickly. In addition to all of this, we asked Jim to design a bespoke portal for us, with very little lead-in time, which he worked on tirelessly, ensuring it was up to a fantastic standard for when we launched it.
I have vast confidence in Jim’s abilities, and am frankly quite amazed that he met all of our very demanding requirements so quickly and so professionally! We will be asking him to entirely re-build our site using his talents to build in both accessibility and responsiveness from the start. Many developers claim to have knowledge in these areas, but in my experience, very few if any have the practical knowledge and pragmatic approach that Jim has. I would advise any organisation looking for a high quality accessible website to talk to Jim. You won’t be disappointed (he’s also incredibly easy to work with).
Jane Hatton, Founder/Director, Evenbreak.
SiTE Scotland – supporting people who are blind or have a visual impairment
I met Jim a couple of years ago when he was presenting to a conference on accessible websites. I contacted him to bid for our new website and he has engaged with me and our team to provide what is a fantastic website which is the central point of our promotion and communication strategy.
Jim worked very closely with us at every stage, listened to what our needs and those of the sight loss community and provided us with exactly what we wanted and more.
None of our team had any experience in web design but Jim took us all through the processes involved in a manner which was easily to understand. and which we have learned so much.
The feedback we have received from visitors to our new website has been all positive and I would have no hesitation in recommending Jim to other organisations. John Turley, Development Manager, SITE Scotland.
LEAD Scotland – Linking Education and Disability
Jim listened to our requirements and he helped us to focus and prioritise during the initial stages when we all felt out of our depth! He put in a power of hard work and creative thinking to deliver a high quality, usable, accessible and visually appealing website, within budget, which we have already had lots of positive feedback about. We are proud of our new website and I would gladly recommend working with Jim. Emma Whitelock Chief Executive Officer
Edinburgh Tenants Federation
“Edinburgh Tenants Federation worked with Jim Byrne in an exciting project to overhaul our branding and website. Jim’s brief was to help ETF develop an easy to use website with a fresher look that would appeal to a younger audience and have increased functionality. We had a vision of what we wanted the website to do, and Jim’s technical brilliance and experience of web design helped us to achieve what we needed.
A big part of the brief was to redesign our branding and logo – and in this we were much less clear how we wanted to proceed. Jim’s patience and close work with his designer meant we got a vibrant new image that we could use across all media.
One of Jim’s great strengths is in finding out what clients really need, and throughout the process testing those aspirations with practical examples. We found Jim easy to work with, friendly and professional and we are happy to recommend his work.” Clare MacGillivray, Development Coordinator Edinburgh Tenants Federation
As an advisory service on technology and disability it was critical for us that our Publisher Lookup website scored well on accessibility. I was delighted recently when a blind colleague was surfing round the site and spontaneously exclaimed “This is a really accessible website”. I told her we like to use people who know their stuff!
Alistair McNaught, Senior advisor, Jisc TechDis
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCL) have won the Breathrough Award for their new website and Online help service.
As the developer who designed these services with LCIL I am of course extremely happy to hear about this award.
I got this nice email from Catherine Garrod,
I think Carol has already let you know that LCIL has won a Breakthrough Independent Living Award under the Information category for the LCIL website and the Grapevine Online service. The judges were particularly impressed with the website and asked for the name of the person who designed the website.
So much of the credit goes to you for producing our new website. Breakthrough UK is a user-led disability organisation so it has been a particular honour for us to receive recognition for the website and online service from this group.
Best wishes, Catherine Garrod Information Co-ordinator Grapevine, Disability Information Service
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.
British Disabled Angling Association
Thank you. Such small words to express the meaning of what you have achieved for us. Our charity scoured the myriad of adverts offering accessible website designs; but which one, at what cost, a series of never ending questions, search after search.
One name Jim Byrne kept appearing, not in the form of advertisement and promises, but praise for the work he does in development, design and tutorials on accessible website design.
We are so pleased that we followed what everyone else was recommending Jim Byrne – Accessible Web Design” our new website is a landmark for us, and an example to angling clubs, businesses and local authorities who encourage disabled visitors to their website.
Jim, you are not only professional in what you do, but offer friendly and constructive advice and patience throughout the build. Thank you simply isn’t enough.
British Disabled Angling Association
I was also very pleased to get the following email from Terry:
We all realise the amount of work that you have dedicated to this project, and the barrage of emails that arrive daily to your inbox from me, you must have the “patience of Job”. On behalf of the trustees I would like to offer our sincere thanks for all the hard work and support for the charity.
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.
ICW Accountancy are very happy with the service that Jim has provided us. From the very first day he set up our website, he has been helpful, attentive and was always willing to suggest things to improve our website and image online. If we required any changes to our website, or help with anything, Jim was very efficient and would take action immediately. We would thoroughly recommend Jim, and look forward to many more years in our successful working relationship together.
Isabella Christie (FCCA) ICW Accountancy
Beaumont Virtual Assistant Services
I was recommended to Jim Byrne and Associates through my graphic designer who has worked with him previously.
After my first initial telephone conversation, I felt very reassured that he would produce a website fit for purpose. I felt that Jim went above and beyond whilst working for me, as he often helped me with technical queries that I was unsure of or didn’t know how to do. He also provided me with additional information on online marketing and Social Media to get me started.
Beaumont Virtual Assistant Services
Get Connected and Lead
When we were looking for someone to design our new website we literally looked the length and breadth of the country but Jim’s understanding of the sector and his superlative technical skill made him stand out from the crowd!
Jim has been involved with the Get Connected and Lead Project almost from its inception. He has offered us invaluable advice and insight into the best ways to achieve our aims and outcomes via the website. We presented Jim with our vision of what we wanted and he surpassed our wildest expectations with a visually pleasing, technically superb, fully accessible, interactive website.
Jim is very easy to work with, nothing phases him – even when we completely changed our minds about the Virtual Learning Environment half way through then asked him to build a bespoke VLE from scratch!
Jim has conducted several brainstorming and training sessions with our team and his easy manner and comprehensive knowledge enable him to put the message across to people in an easy to understand way.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in highly recommending Jim Byrne and Associates to anyone requiring an accessible website.
Eleanor Brown Project Co-ordinator Lead Scotland, Get Connected and Lead: Maximising the Influence of Minority Voices Project
Scottish Information Commissioner
I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you very much for coming to St Andrews and training us on web accessibility today. All the participants have fed back to me that they found it excellent, really helpful and pitched at just the right level for what we are trying to do.
Susan Gray, Freedom of Information Officer, Scottish Information Commissioner
When CoLRiC needed a new website, Jim Byrne understood the need to deliver against our requirements and our budget. Notwithstanding the fact that the commissioning group were spread across the UK, and Jim is in Scotland, the project was completed efficiently and on budget. Offering clear advice on web technology and design, Jim carefully guided us through the process to taking the project live on the planned date!
Richard Brine, CoLRiC Committee Member
Scottish Accessible Information Forum (SAIF)
Jim has worked with the Scottish Accessible Information Forum, (SAIF) for over 10 years and we regard him as our resident expert on accessibility and the web. Last year, Jim redesigned our website to give it a fresh new look while keeping accessibility as a priority. He is always willing to help out with any questions we have and gets back to us promptly with a solution. We would have no hesitation recommending him to other organisations, and we frequently do whenever we get the chance!
Susan Burn, Project Development Officer, SAIF.
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.
Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
As a user-led disability organisation, we were looking for a website that was easy to use, fully accessible, colourful and attractive. Jim worked with us over many months, listening carefully to our ideas which frequently changed and developed as time progressed.
One of the specifications for the website was for a new online advice facility providing live, interactive advice directly to our service users. Jim provided us with the expert knowledge we needed to set this up. His technical expertise was invaluable and he gave us lots of good advice about what would work best, always ensuring that he was meeting our individual needs.
We are very happy with the completed website that Jim has produced. It is a unique, accessible, eye catching website that will serve us for years to come. We have also had some fantastic feedback from our service users and stakeholders. Jim continues to provide us with advice and help with the website and is always friendly and helpful. We would be happy to recommend Jim Byrne to any organisation looking for help with creating a new website.
Catherine Garrod, Information Co-ordinator, The Lothian Centre for Integrated Living (LCIL)
Health Rights Information Scotland
Jim recently conducted an accessibility audit of the Health Rights Information Scotland (HRIS) website. The report was extremely detailed. It explained what the WCAG guidelines mean, how compliance was assessed, what problems were identified and how these could be fixed. We are confident that implementing Jim’s recommendations will greatly improve the accessibility of our site. The report was, as far as possible, free from technical jargon, and Jim was always more than happy to have a chat about things we did not understand. This evaluation has been extremely useful.
Brigitte Cosford – Project Support Officer – Health Rights Information Scotland
Centre for Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP)
Jim’s support helped us think through the different issues associated with developing our website to meet our needs as well as accessibility essentials. His feedback at different stages of the process was also an important factor in helping us shape and improve our design.
Julia Waldman, Deputy Director Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP)
We are a national service working in the field of accessibility and technology in education. We were developing a particular web resource with the Publishers Association and needed someone to build that for us who fully understood the need for a website to be practically usable as well as theoretically accessible.
Jim delivered exactly what we wanted, to a difficult time scale and with constantly changing requirements. He quickly grasped what was required and constantly delivered high quality work right on target. I would have no hesitation in recommending Jim for building accessible and usable web-based resources quickly and effectively. We will certainly be using his services again in the future.
Dr Simon Ball Senior Advisor JISC TechDis Service
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.
Glasgow Disability Alliance
We are an organisation ran for and by disabled people. We needed an accessible website which was easy to use and looked good and that’s what we got! Jim was exactly the right person to do this for us as he understands our sector and could interpret my lay person’s ideas using his high level of technical expertise and experience to translate this into a website.
We were delighted with the results. We were confident in Jim’s track record- who better to do our website than someone who was joint author of the Standards for Disability Information and Advice Provision in Scotland on Making Websites Accessible!
Jim is friendly, helpful and reliable: nothing is ever too much trouble. Added value in using Jim has been his range of articles and tutorials and he is on hand to respond to requests for help even now! With his former background as a lecturer and trainer, Jim was ideally placed to provide training sessions for our staff on using the website and keeping up with new developments. We are still in touch about the website and he has provided a service which has been above and beyond the contract.
I would highly recommend Jim Byrne and Associates to any organisation in need of an accessible website.
Tressa Burke, Director, Glasgow Disability Alliance
GCIL Housing and Employment Services
As a user-led organisation, run by, for and employing disabled people, it was critical that our new system was fully accessible and met W3C level 2 criteria. We therefore employed Jim Byrne as an independent consultant to fully analyse and test our new website to ensure that it met the high standards for web accessibility which we specified to our IT company. Jim’s expertise was invaluable, he guided us through this complex area provided a bridge to translate our user voice into technical specifications and standards, we were very pleased with his work.
Grant Carson, Manager, Housing and Employment Services, GCIL
Wilkinson & Corr Ltd
We were introduced to Jim by a current user of the product when we embarked on a website redesign, upgrade and link to a dynamic mySql database.
Our business is quite unique and it was obvious from an early stage that significant customisation of the standard product was required. This was done in a challenging time frame and at a cost which we felt was good value for money.
Our site went live without major problems and all relevant staff members have found it straightforward to use Jim’s product on almost a daily basis. We have not had a need for ongoing support as yet but based on the implementation process, I am confident that Jim’s service will meet our expectations.
Barry Corr, Director, Wilkinson & Corr Ltd
South Lakes Society for the Blind
As an organisation providing support to visually impaired people, we had scoured the web to find a content management system that is easy to use AND that produces accessible web output. QnECMS has provided both of these things and we are now in a position where we can update content easily and we have a clean, simple website that transforms gracefully when people change the screen settings.
During the set-up, Jim provided sound and flexible support; he responded quickly to all queries and when we did have a few snags he made sure we were sorted out as quickly as possible. All-in-all a very professional service and very reasonably priced too
Dave Egan Development Director South Lakes Society for the Blind
KAS Personal Shopping and corporate gifts
Jim has recently completed my web-site and I have to say I am delighted with it. The results are professional, informative and also fashionable which is important to my business. I was very impressed with Jim as not only did I find him knowledgeable, helpful and patient he was quick on the uptake and seemed to know exactly what I required.
I found it a real pleasure to work with Jim therefore I would not hesitate to recommend him, in fact I have already done so.
Kathy Sharp, KAS Personal Shopping and corporate gifts.
Jim Byrne has designed and created the Scottish Pottery Society web site for us and has this has received very favourable comments from everyone. The management system that he has provided us to modify, alter and expand our domain is clear and very effective. His instruction to us novices has been clear and he has always been quick to help me when I have had problems in creating special items on pages. I am pleased to recommend him and his content management system.
Douglas Leishman, Secretary of the Scottish Pottery Society
Jim Byrne redesigned the Women’s History Scotland website a number of years ago for us on the recommendation of a friend. Prior to its redesign we had experienced a number of problems with the site…these we have no more…the site is user friendly (for both browsers and authors). Jim’s professional, helpful and friendly manner, moreover, is an added bonus!
As website co-ordinator of Women’s History Scotland, it’s my duty to maintain and update the site with any relevant information. I am able to do this quite easily as the website is easy to manage (even for one with limited knowledge of html) and when I need any assistance, Jim is just an email away – and nothing is ever too much trouble for him. I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone wishing to utilise his skills and services.
Jim Byrne was recommended to me by a friend who had recently had her website designed by him and was completely satisfied with the service she had received. I am a novice when it comes to technology but Jim took care to talk me though the whole process in plain English.
I found Jim to be most knowledgeable as well as approachable and I am now the proud owner of website I might never otherwise have had. My new business has benefited from a most professional service and the website has turned out to be one of my main sources of new clients. In the fist three months of getting the site up and running it had already paid for itself.
Feedback about my site from friends or clients is always the same: ëvery professional.í Only this evening a client commented that she had chosen to come to me for hypnotherapy as a result of a web search and that she had selected me over other therapists in the area because of the fantastic website which she described as, ëVery clear and easy to navigate as well as calming on the eyeí, which was just what I had asked Jim to produce.
I would recommend Jimís services to anyone who is considering investing in a website. Jim has a professional, patient manner and takes care to listen and act on his clientís requirements.
Karen Campbell Clinical Hypnotherapist
Jim devised, set up and, until recently, maintained the web-site for our project, Teachability. The project was all about accessibility and so we had to get the web design right! Jim did a great job for us. We were particularly impressed by how quickly he responded to our requests for help when anything went wrong, as they do periodically. At a time when the idea of accessible web design was in its infancy, Jim’s help was indispensable.
Anne Simpson StrathClyde University Teachability Project.
As an organisation run by disabled people, for disabled people, LCIL needed a website which was fully accessible and capable of easy update by multiple editors with a wide range (and often lack) of web skills. The QnECMS system from Jim Byrne did all that we required. Jim’s understanding of access issues was of particular value and helped us to debate this with in the organisation. At our earliest meeetings Jim referred to ensuring that “the Web should not be the Inaccessible Housing of the future” this idea has informed much of the design of our site. This means we have a site which is accessible to most people this makes sense both in terms of our philosophy but also in terms as reaching a bigger market.
On a practical level Jim’s support was fast, personal, reliable and effective, this contrasts strongly with other Internet and e-mail providers we deal with. This has been the case from the inception of the site through various changes to the current time. LCIL looks forward to continuing our working relationship with Jim as the internet increasingly becomes a means of communication with all parts of society
Gareth Timms and Eddie Patterson, Lothian Centre for Integrated Living.
I work for Glasgow Association for Mental Health as the Information Manager. Last year GAMH received money to develop an online database. Our old database was on an Apple Mac computer and could only be accessed and edited via one computer. This meant that if more than one volunteer wanted to do updating it was not possible and everyone in our organisation had to phone centrally when ARC was open on a Tuesday and Friday. Other times no one could get access.
After receiving a grant from Lloyds TSB we discussed our needs with Jim and the finance available. At the meeting were service users and Jim is very good at explaining technical computer language to lay people. The database was to be online, the positive solution of the software behind the database means there are no extra software costs, or updating this on all the machines using the database.
A simple system of editing was devised that can be done by volunteer staff who have basic IT skills , i.e. below ECDL.A number of the staff are older and have mental health problems and can operate the system .A track of who is editing is also able to be monitored.
It is easier to search than the previous database. In addition because Jim produced it I can be sure that accessibility has been checked.
It now has widened access to the computer its online so can be searched 24/7 and there can be 2 or 3 volunteers at a time doing the updating. We were able to introduce virtual volunteers who want to take the work away and do it in their own time at home. In addition some of the volunteers take the work away and do it in the library on the free online access when it suits them.
Overall I found Jim to explain the technical language to you level. You may know what you want; he can tell you whatís possible within your resources. He will also point out any problems with what you are planning. I feel he designed an online database to our specifications within the resources and time frames. I would highly recommend his work.
Marie Burns Information Manager, Glasgow Association for Mental Health
Jim is a very good professional. The information was well projected to our audience in a clear and informative manner. His skill level is very high and I would definitely recommend him.
Dale Wright Business Analyst / Web Team Leader Copeland Council
I’m writing to thank you for all the improvements you have recently made to my company’s website.
My existing site, though visually pleasing, was proving difficult for potential clients to find. After visiting me to listen to my problems and frustrations, you were able to offer a practical solution and helpful advice, in plain English. The work you carried out was done quickly, professionally, and in line with my specified requirements. Any changes I suggested to you were carried out immediately, and you always returned my calls – something which is a matter of importance to me.
Since the work was completed, I have spent many hours searching for my site, using various phrases and key words. Thanks to you, the improvements have been substantial; Acanthus now appears far higher in the listings of search hits than it ever did before.
Thank you very much for an excellent job. I will be delighted to recommend your services to anyone who needs help in website design and development.
Robert Corrigan, Acanthus
Testimonials received for work with the Making Connections Unit.
As a charitable trust, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland wanted to launch a website that was accessible to all potential applicants – including the visually impaired. The Making Connections Unit listened carefully to our objectives and was instrumental in getting our specially designed website up-and-running. We were impressed by the expertise and professionalism demonstrated by the Making Connections Unit and this is reflected in the fact that our website has been extremely well received to date.
Loyds TSB Foundation Scotland
The time that was available to do this was very short, but it looked so good on the day and everyone is really pleased with it. It was a brilliant job done in really short space of time.
Thanks from all the staff at SCLD
Development of W.A.G.E. on-line would not have taken place without the support and input from our partner organisations, including the Making Connections Unit (MCU). Jim Byrne from MCU was a member of the original planning and advisory group, which was successful in accessing development funding for the W.A.G.E. project and he has continued to provide valuable on-going support and advice to project staff and volunteers.
Working Abilities in Glasgow Explored project (W.A.G.E.)
Tags: About Jim Byrne, accessibility auditing, audit, charities, education, Feedback from clients, further education, not-for-profit, third sector, wcag, WCAG 2, web design, website development