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Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design Glasgow for The Third Sector, Voluntary, Charities and Not for Profits

Accessible design for the Third Sector
Creating inclusive websites since 1996
Jim Byrne Web Designer

5 ideas to improve your online presence and make your site more secure in 2018 

Published: January 9, 2018

Happy New Year. I hope you had a restful break. 🙂

This is the time of year to make plans; freshen up your website; reach more people or try to do things more efficiently.

Here are five things to consider as we move in to 2018. Click the appropriate link for information about those activities you are interested in:

1. Make sure your website has been upgraded or re-designed to work well on mobiles and tablet computers. 2017 was the year that mobile usage finally overtook desktop browsing. Every website now needs to be a ‘responsive’ website and able to operate on all devices. Is yours?

The importance of having a mobile friendly website is, of course, not new. In 2016 Google made changes to the way they rank sites, to the extent that more mobile friendly sites are moved up the rankings. It is no longer simply about usability, it’s also about whether you can be found at all, ‘on any platform’. Gianluca Fiorelli wrote in the Moz* newsletter (Moz are an SEO consulting company) that, ‘Google is steadily moving to a mobile-only world’. Get in touch if you would like to discuss upgrading yours site to work well on mobiles.

2. Consider commissioning an accessibility audit of your site. You may be breaking the law without knowing it. If you web content is not accessible to disabled people that is considered a form of discrimination under the Equalities Act 2010.

If you ensure your website is accessible you are likely to increase the audience for your content. Accessible websites also tend to be easier to use for all visitors. This is an area I have over two decades of experience in so if you have any questions or if you would like to commission an audit get in touch. Get back to me within two days of receiving this newsletter and I promise to provide an unprecedented good deal on a website accessibility audit of your site. I will check your site against WCAG 2 level 2, or whatever level you require.

3. Ensure your website is protected against being hacked and that if you are hacked you have your content backed up. I am currently providing a discount on my standard website backup service.

I also provide a 24/7 monitoring (and cleanup) service to ensure that if your website gets hacked you will know right away. Immediate action is required if you website is hacked:

  1. If you are hacked and Google detects that your site has been hacked then your site will be blacklisted. This means that Google will start to tell visitors that your site is dangerous. Clearly that is not good for your credibility and, of course, you will lose much of your traffic as not many people will override a Google warning to visit your content. Once Google has blacklisted your site you need to clear your site of malicious content and then you need to try to get Google to remove the blacklisting.
  2. Hackers can add malicious code and content to your site and serve adverts to your visitors without you noticing. If you visit your site directly it looks fine. However when people are finding your site via Google it appears to be serving drugs or porn or some other malicious content.

In other words you need your site to be monitored and you need to be alerted right away if malicious code or content has been added to your site. You might think it won’t ever happen to you. Not true, it is almost guaranteed that you will be hacked at some point. 43,000 sites get hacked every day and 10,000 sites get blacklisted by Google every day. Get in touch if you have a WordPress website and you are not already using a monitoring and cleanup service. Not only can I give you a great deal, I’ll also install the monitoring software for free.

4. Make sure you are ready for the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The GDPR is the EU data protection regulation which replaces the current Data Protection Act. It aims to simplify regulation and give individuals more control over their personal data. I recently wrote a short summary about the GDPR I think you will find useful.

5. Get a brand new accessible, mobile friendly, feature rich website; one that is designed from the ground up to help you meet your goals, whether that be to get more members, sell more products or get more people registered for your newsletter. If it’s been on your mind for a while now’s the perfect time to take action.

Get in touch if you want to chat about any of the above. Tel: 07810 098119 Email: webdesign@jimbyrne.co.uk

All the best,
Jim

Public Sector Equality Duty – A summary

Published: January 31, 2017

What is the public sector equality duty for?

The public sector equality duty is designed to ensure that those carrying out public functions (including public authorities) consider how they can contribute to and help foster a more equal society. They have a duty to promote good relations between different groups and to advocate and advance equality.

In summary:

  • Deliver improved outcomes for everyone.
  • Develop policies, based on evidence.
  • Take action to advance equality.
  • Be transparent, accessible and accountable.
  • With this policy the onus shifts away from the individual’s need to assert their right to equal treatment onto public authorities. Public authorities are now expected to be pro-active in tackling institutional discrimination.

The public sector equality duty covers a list of ‘protected characteristics’:

  • race
  • religion or belief
  • disability
  • age
  • gender
  • gender reassignment,
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • sexual orientation

The duty also covers marriage and civil partnerships, in relation to eliminating unlawful employment discrimination.

How does it relate to disabled people?

Organisations must take into account a disabled person’s impairment and ensure that that impairment is not a barrier to equal treatment. Organisations need to be pro-active i.e. not wait to react if someone complains about an issue or requests equal access or treatment. An example would be a local authority making their website accessible to disabled people and providing alternative formats available by default.

The General Equality Duty

The public sector equality duty is set out in the Equality Act 2010 and referred to as the ‘general equality duty’.

The general equality duty has three elements:

  1. To eliminate unlawful discrimination.
  2. To promote equality of opportunity.
  3. To foster good relations between those with ‘protected characteristics’ and those who do not.

A public authority must take account of these three needs to comply with the general equality duty.

Who is subject to the General Equality Duty?

The list includes health boards, education authorities, further and higher education authorities, local authorities, the police, fire and rescue authorities and Scottish Ministers. There is a full list of those subject to the act online.

The duty covers public authorities when carrying out their public functions as service providers, as policy makers and as employers and also covers services and functions which are contracted out.

When private and voluntary sector organisations are carrying out a ‘public function’ they are also covered by the duty. A public function’ is one defined as such by the Human Rights Act 1998.

In order to meet the general duty, a public authority must:

  • Be educated about the the act and the requirements implied so that they can be applied to policies and practices. Duties under the act should be considered at the time when new policies are being created.
  • The decision making process must take heed of the three needs of the general equality duty in a way that influences the outcomes of those decisions.
  • The general equality duty is a ‘continuing duty’ – so it has to be considered during the implementation of policy and must be continually reviewed.
  • The public equality duty also applies to anyone exercising public functions on behalf of a public body; the duty rests with the public authority even when delegated to a third-part organisation.

Specific Duties

Secondary legislation outlining specific duties came into force on 27 May 2012.

Each listed authority is required to:

  • Publish progress on mainstreaming of the equality duty, equality outcomes, gender pay gap and equal pay.
  • Review policies and practices and asses them.
  • Gather employee information.
  • Consider award criteria in relation to public procurement
  • Publish information in a manner that is accessible.

How Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design Can help organisations comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty

Many of the organisations subject to the act have websites and documents that are not accessible to disabled people. If a disabled person cannot access information on a website managed by a public authority and no alternatives are offered that would be considered as unequal treatment under the Equality Act 2010 .

The services I provide can help in the following ways. I can:

  • Carry out a website access audit to check if there are any barriers to disabled people accessing content.
  • Help make the updates necessary to ensure your website is accessible
  • Develop a new usable accessible website for your in so that you are being pro-active in meeting the needs of disabled people
  • Update your existing website to make it more accessible.
  • Identify and fix accessibility problems with PDF’s or Word documents you publish so that your publications are accessible to your target groups.

Contact me to discuss any of the above. Telephone: 07810 098 119

Or fill in the contact form below:




Equality Act 2010 – A Summary

Published: January 25, 2017

Equality Act 2010 was designed to simplify UK anti-discrimination laws by aggregating several related laws into one. It replaces, among other acts, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, (DDA, Race Relations Act 1976 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

In summary, the Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of a person’s race, religion or impairment. The goal is to promote equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society.

The Equality Act 2010 and disabled people

As mentioned above, the Act replaces the old Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). It not only outlaws discrimination against disabled people but also states that organisations must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure equal treatment. The ‘Public Sector Equality Duty’ part of the act outlines the obligations placed on public authorities (including NHS boards) to eliminate discrimination and positively enhance equality and relations between different groups.

The act also covers what it calls, ‘indirect discrimination’. For example, if an employer has a rule that applies to every employee but it is found that that the rule puts disabled people at a disadvantage – that is regarded as discrimination. An example of indirect discrimination would be telling a person with photosensitive epilepsy that they had to apply for in-house training ‘online’ – just like everyone else. The computer skills of someone with photosensitive epilepsy are likely to be poor – as using a computer could cause them to have a seizure – so this would not be considered a reasonable request. If no alternative application process is provided this would be regarded as discrimination.

The act also protects people who have an association with a disabled person, such as a carer.

What organisations does the act apply to?

The act applies to Government departments, Employers, service providers, education bodies and education providers (Schools, FE colleges and Universities), those who provide public functions, landlords and transport providers.

What do these organisations have to do?

Employers and public bodies have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure disabled people are not put at a ‘substantial disadvantage’. One example of a reasonable adjustment would be to ensure that information provided on an organisation’s website is accessible to someone who is blind or has a visual impairment. Another example of reasonable adjustment would be to install a ramp to allow wheelchair users to access a building.

Employers have to make changes to the way things are done, if the current situation disadvantages disabled people ‘reasonable adjustment’ is required. For example, providing information in an accessible format; including on websites and documents (e.g. PDF’s and Word documents) provided as part of a public service.

Positive Actions in favour of disabled people

The law allows employers to treat disabled people more favourably that non-disabled people. For example, providing employment opportunities specifically for people with a learning difficulty.

What is The public sector Equality Duty

The public sector Equality Duty requires public bodies – such as the ‘listed’ authorities, the NHS and others with public functions – to take into account the impairments of disabled people when making decisions on policies or services. Public bodies have a duty to think about the need to eliminate discrimination in their work place. They now need to be pro-active rather than re-active in relation to ensuring equality

Specific duties (Scotland) Regulation 2012

The Specific duties (Scotland) Regulation 2012 came in to force in 2012 and places duties on public authorities in Scotland. They are designed to help them develop better policies and practices and improve transparency and accountability – as well as to advance equality of opportunity between different groups.

How Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design Can help organisations comply with the Equality Act 2010

Many organisations have websites and documents that are not accessible to disabled people and therefore they are discriminating against disabled people.

The services I provide can help in the following ways. I can:

  • Carry out a website access audit to check if there are any barriers to disabled people accessing the content.
  • Help you make the updates necessary to ensure your website is accessible
  • Develop a new usable accessible website for you – so that you are being pro-active in meeting the needs of disabled people
  • Update your existing website to make it more accessible.
  • Identify and fix accessibility problems with PDF’s or Word documents you publish so that your publications are accessible to your target groups.

Contact me to discuss any of the above. Telephone: 07810 098 119

Or fill in the contact form below:




Notes

When is unequal treatment not considered discrimination under the Act?

If actions that put disabled people at a disadvantage can be justified – for example, because it would incur unreasonably high costs – that is not counted as discrimination by the act.

Give me a phone if you would like me to test the accessibility of your website:

I provided feedback on the WCAG 2 (as representative of Guild of Accessible Website Designers) have two decades of experience and worked with hundreds of organisations.

07810 098 119