Why Accessibility is Crucial for Third Sector Organisations
Published: April 17, 2023
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.
Advanced Facebook Page Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations
Published: November 3, 2014
Nonprofits that have been using Facebook for a year or more consistently comment “OK, Facebook is great, but how can we take our Facebook Page strategy to the next level?”
Below are 3 advanced Facebook Page strategies in response to that question:
1. Create Customized Tabs.
Advanced strategies require advanced tech skills. If you know html and have a good graphic designer, then you can use the Static FBML App to create and completely customize Tabs on Facebook Pages.
If you don’t know html and want customized Tabs for your Facebook Page, then you have two options: 1) Hire someone who knows html and Facebook. 2) Get in touch and we will help you add a tab to your Facebook page.
2. Incorporate your Facebook Page into your Thank You emails.
Most nonprofits send immediate thank you emails to online donors and signatories of petitions. Make sure to add a simple “Become a fan of [Organization Name] on Facebook!” into your email.
3. Incorporate your Facebook Page into your mobile campaigns.
Ask your text alert subscribers to fan your Facebook Page, but make sure you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page. Most nonprofits haven’t even begun to think about mobile tech, but mobile Web usage is on track to hit 3 billion+ users in 2011.
Why do non-profits need to care about web standards and web accessibility?
Published: August 19, 2014
Accessible websites attract more people
Apart from the 10 million Disabled people in the UK and 50 million in America, accessible websites will be easier to use by older people, people with slow connections or older technologies and people with low literacy. Older people are the fastest growing group of new users in many countries. As many older people have multiple impairments, accessible sites are likely to be more attractive to this group.
Lower costs and more traffic
Pages built using web standards tend to be smaller and they tend to load quicker. This leads to the first and most obvious saving – lower bandwidth costs.
What is not so obvious, however, is that faster loading pages can also generate additional traffic and revenue. For example, when Multimap.com redesigned their site using web standards they estimated they saved 40,000 Gb of bandwidth per year – but they also found that their advertising revenues increased. The quicker loading pages encouraged people to spend more time on the site.
Web Standards means shorter development times and re-usable content
Production and maintenance costs are lower when content is packaged in highly structured ways, for example, when standard (X)HTML is used. Separating the structure of content, i.e., headings, lists, images, paragraphs, from the way that content is presented opens up opportunities to create multiple ‘views’ of that content.
As a result, content can be optimized with less effort for delivery on hand-held devices, formatted for printing or delivered to assistive devices such as screen readers.
When the time comes around for a new design, it is easier to substitute a new style sheet than to spend hours changing hundreds of font tags and background colour attributes.
Web standards means you don’t waste time battling with Browser quirks
When using Web standards there is no need to produce multiple versions of pages to cope with the quirks of different browsers. The time and effort previously required to create and maintain ‘browser sniffing’ scripts can now be re-deployed to add value to the site for visitors.
Web standards helps you break free from proprietary technologies
Using Web standards can free organisations from being captives of browsers dependent on proprietary tags and rendering behaviour. For example, IBM’s move to Open Source desktop clients has reportedly been held back due to their web based systems being built on top of the non-standard Internet Explorer web browser.
Less errors in pages means less time dealing with complaints
Without working to standards – it is not possible to check for markup errors; there are no rules to check against. Standards base web pages can be checked against code validators such as the W3C validator – highlighting any errors – and allowing you to get those errors fixed. If you website works for more people on more browsers you won’t have to spend time replying to emails from people complaining your site doesn’t work.
Content is future-proofed and compatible with older browsers. Pages built using web standards will display more consistently across browsers and platforms, including older browsers. Your content will not necessarily look the same in old ‘non-standard compliant’ browser but the bottom line is that the content will still be available.
Greater search engine visibility
Search engines are able to index web pages more accurately if the content on those pages is well structured. For example, when keywords appear in page headings many search engines give extra weight to those words when indexing the page. A web page where headings are improperly marked up is likely to suffer in the search rankings compared with a page with the same content that is marked up correctly. An accessible website will have alternative text for images and multimedia – and this will provide more text be indexed by search engines.
Accessible websites designed using Web Standards leads to real measurable benefits: more visitors, increased income, decreased cost, greater search engine visibility, faster loading and easier to use pages. Sell the benefits to websites commissioners, not the ideology.
This article was written by Jim Byrne, a Web site accessibility specialist since 1996.
Contact us now if you are interested in having your own accessible website built using Web Standards.
Voluntary, Education and Public Sector clients we have worked with
Published: June 12, 2013
We work with organisations of any size, from Charities with one worker to public sector organisations with hundreds. Whatever the size we will work hard to help you meet your project goals.
Examples of clients we have worked with in the voluntary, education and public sector
Voluntary Sector Organisations
- Evenbreak – helping inclusive employers attract more talented disabled people.
- Site Scotland – a charity for blind and visually impaired people
- Law Works Scotland – provision pro bono legal services
- Learning Link Scotland.
- Edinburgh Tenants Federation
- Birnam Arts Centre
- The North East Equalities Coalition
- Eden Voluntary Society for the Blind and Partially Sighted (EVSB)
- Motor Neurone Disease Scotland
- The Ability Fest Conference
- Centre for Independent Living in Glasgow
- The Lothian Centre for Integrated Living
- North Lanarkshire Federation of Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations (NLF)
- The Wellbeing Initiative
- Scottish Accessible Information Forum Consultancy and author of Standards publication
- The Centre for Womens’ Health in Glasgow
- Scottish Consumer Council
- Self-Directed Support Scotland
- Glasgow Organisation of Disabled People
- Scottish Human Services
- Opening: providing training and employment opportunities to disabled people
- Glasgow Association for Mental Health
- Prince’s Royal Trust Network of Information Officers
- Barlarnark Disability Unit
- The Alpha Project
- The Kelvinbank Resources Centre
- Cue and Review – recording service for the blind
- Scottish Healthy Choices Awards Scheme
- The Coalition of Carers in Scotland
- The Rosemount Project
- Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
- University of Southampton. Consultancy in relation to redesign for Social Policy and Social Work website
- Glasgow Caledonian University Website. Numerous research project websites and content management system training.
- Strathclyde University Special Needs Service. Website development
- Napier University. Designed and delivered 10 week course on accessible web design.
- Glasgow University – websites for research projects.
- Womens History Scotland
Local Government and councils
- Fife Council – Accessible Web Design Training
- Glasgow City Council, Social Work Department Accessible Web Design Training and web accessibility audits
- Forfar Council – Accessible Web Design Training
- East Dunbartonshire Council, Social Work Department
- Clackmannanshire Council Accessible Web Design and CSS training course for web developers
- Anne McGuire MP for Stirling
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.