Third sector organisations work hard to serve their communities. However, many overlook the need to ensure their website content is accessible to all visitors, including disabled people. Websites that are not designed with accessibility in mind can exclude disabled people from accessing information and services.
In this short post, I explore why accessibility is crucial for third sector oranisations, and some steps they can take to ensure their websites are accessible.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the practice of designing websites that are accessible to disabled people. For example, people with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. Everyone, regardless of their abilities, should be able to access information and services online.
There are laws and guidelines that require websites to be accessible, including The Equality Act 2010, British Standard 8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Why Accessibility Matters for Third Sector Organisations
Third-sector oranisations have a unique responsibility to ensure their websites are accessible to all users. These organisations often work with marginalised communities, including disabled people so, it’s important that their websites reflect their commitment to equality and inclusivity.
In addition to ethical considerations by ensuring that their content is available to all users, these organisations can expand their impact and connect with people who may not have been able to access their services otherwise.
If their websites are not accessible third sector oranisations leave themselves open to potential legal challenges – if they are percieved to be discrimination against disabled people – under the Equality Act 2010. Lawsuits and negative publicity can harm the reputation and effectiveness of third sector organisations.
Designing an Accessible Website for Third Sector Organisations
Creating an accessible website involves following best practices for website design and using tools and resources that can help ensure accessibility. Some best practices include:
There are also several tools and resources available to help third-sector organisations create accessible websites. Accessibility checkers can scan websites for potential accessibility issues, and WCAG guidelines provide detailed information about best practices for accessibility.
Website accessibility is a crucial aspect of web design for third-sector organisations. By ensuring that their websites are accessible to all users, they can increase their reach, align with their missions, and avoid legal risk.