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

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Website Accessibility and Your Legal Obligations in the UK

Published: June 15, 2023

The accessibility of websites plays a crucial role in ensuring equal access to information and services for all individuals, including disabled people. It is not just about ‘doing the right thing’, it is a legal requirement.

Website Accessibility and the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is the legal foundation in the UK designed to ensure equal access to goods, services, and information. Websites are included within the legislation. Organisations must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled people. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, reaching up to 4% of worldwide turnover.

Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018

The Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations (PSBAR) came into effect on September 23, 2018. It applies to public sector organisations. These regulations require public sector websites, including government agencies, educational institutions, and local authorities, to meet certain accessibility standards. Public sector websites should aim for at least Level AA conformance with WCAG guidelines and provide an accessibility statement to communicate their compliance level.

To ensure compliance with accessibility standards, organisations should conduct regular accessibility checks, engage in user testing with disabled people, and make necessary improvements to address any identified barriers. It is advisable to maintain an accessibility statement on the website, which outlines the organisation’s commitment to accessibility, known limitations, and contact information for reporting issues.

How to ensure compliance with your legal requirements

ISO 30071-1 international information technology standard

The ISO 30071-1 is international information technology standard was published in 2019. It contains good practice guidelines and advice that will be useful to all organisations seeking to make their content accessible. Part 1 is about embedding good accessibility practice into the values of a company – to ensure the ICT products and services they design are accessible.

The development of the ISO 30071-1 standard was lead by Johnathan Hassell who wrote the following:

“It provides a framework around standards like WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 to help integrate accessibility within organisations and into software development lifecycles.”

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

To achieve accessibility standards, organisations can adhere to the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They provide a framework for web developers and designers to create websites accessible to all, including disabled people.

In conclusion: Website Accessibility and Your Legal Obligations in the UK

Website accessibility is not just a matter of social responsibility, it is a legal obligation. By adhering to the Equality Act 2010, and relevant legislation such as the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations organisations you can ensure equal access to your websites and services for disabled people. Taking accessibility seriously means you not only to avoid potential penalties but also make your content more accessible and enhance the user experience for all visitors to your websites.

Photo by DPP Law.

The Role of Color Contrast in Accessible Web Design

Published: April 27, 2023

Color Contrast is an important issue because Website accessibility is an important issue. Websites must be designed to be accessible to everyone, including disabled people – otherwise, you losing part of your audience – and you are breaking the law. I.e., The Equality Act 2010, which states that you are not allowed to discriminate against disabled people. So, a critical aspect of website accessibility is color contrast. In this blog post, I will explore the role of color contrast in accessible web design and outline tips and strategies to improve color contrast on your website.

What is color contrast?

Color contrast refers to the difference in color between two elements, such as text and its background. It is measured using a ratio, between the text’s color and the background color. The higher the ratio, the better the color contrast. For example, 1:1 is white on white and 21:1 is white on black. Color contrast is essential in web design because it affects the readability and legibility of content. For some general background information, read my introduction to colour and accessibility on LinkedIn.

Why is color contrast important for accessibility?

People with visual impairments, such as color blindness, rely on color contrast to navigate and understand content on websites. If the color contrast is insufficient, they may not be able to distinguish between different elements on the page, making it challenging to complete tasks or access information. Additionally, color contrast is essential for people with cognitive impairments, who may find it difficult to read or understand content with low color contrast.

Accessibility guidelines and laws related to color contrast

Many countries have accessibility laws that require websites to be designed with accessibility in mind. In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 requires businesses to ensure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline the standards for website accessibility, including color contrast. The UK also has British Standard 8878 (BS 8878) is the Web Accessibility Code of Practice developed by the British Standards Institution, which is a standard aiming to introduce website accessibility to non-technical professionals, including.

How to check color contrast

Several tools are available online to check color contrast, such as the WebAIM Contrast Checker and the Contrast Ratio Checker. These tools provide a ratio between the text and background colors, indicating whether the color contrast is sufficient.

Tips for improving color contrast

  1. Use high-contrast color schemes: High-contrast color schemes, such as black and white, are easier to read and understand for people with visual impairments. Avoid using low-contrast color schemes, such as light gray text on a white background.
  2. Avoid color combinations that are difficult to distinguish: Some color combinations, such as red and green, can be challenging for people with color blindness to distinguish. Use color palettes that are accessible, such as blue and yellow.
  3. Use text alternatives for non-text content: Non-text content, such as images and videos, should have text alternatives, such as alt tags, that describe the content. This allows people with visual impairments to understand the content.

Color contrast is an essential aspect of accessible web design. Use higher-contrast color schemes, avoid color combinations that are difficult to distinguish, and provide text alternatives for non-text content. By making your website accessible, you are ensuring that more people can access your content including disabled people.

Get in touch today to chat about how I can help you ensure your website is accessible to a wider audience: Tel: 07810 098 119


Accessibility statements – does your charity need to have one on your website?

Published: February 17, 2023

If you are a public sector body or a charity that has received public or government funding then you are required to have an accessibility statement on your website. An accessibility statement is a legal document required under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. The Public Sector Bodies accessibility regulations build on the existing obligations you have under the Equality Act 2010.

This article is a short, simplified summary and should not be regarded as the definitive set of requirements to check your organisation against. For full information refer to the Public Sector Accessibility Regulations.

A ‘public sector body’ is one of the following:

  • Regional or local authorities.
  • Bodies governed by public law or
  • Associations formed by one or more of the regional or local authorities or one or more of the bodies governed by public law – if those associations are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest. These are not commercial or industrial organisations.
  • The State.

Characteristics of “bodies governed by public law” include:

  • Established for the purpose of meeting the needs of the general public, but not industrial or commercial in character.
  • Financed, for the most part, by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law.
  • Subject to management supervision by those authorities or bodies.
  • They have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board, more than half of whose members are appointed by the State, regional or local authorities, or by other bodies governed by public law.

    How can I help you?

    Call now to chat about your new website: 07810 098 119.

    All Accessibility Blog Posts

    Published: April 8, 2022

    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:

    All the best,

    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.
      • Give guidances on how to update the accessibility issues outlined in the report.
      • Develop a new usable accessible website for you – so that you are being pro-active in meeting the needs of disabled people
      • 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


      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.

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