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

Accessible, Responsive Website Design
Jim Byrne Web Designer

ISO 30071: 2019 Digital Accessibility Standard – What is it?

ISO 30071 is a standard and a set of guidelines for managing diversity in the workplace. It aims to help organisations create a more inclusive, and by implication, more productive environment, for employees from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the UK, it replaces British Standard BS 8878.

The guidelines set out in ISO 30071 cover:

  • Language policy: How to develop a language policy that reflects the mix of languages within an organisation.
  • Recruitment and selection: This section is designed to ensure that recruitment and selection processes are inclusive, i.e., they do not discriminate against individuals based on their culture or their language.
  • Training and development: This section is about developing training and development programs tailored to the different needs of employees. For example, ensuring that cultural needs are being taken into account.
  • Communication and collaboration: How to promote effective communication and collaboration among employees from diverse cultural/linguistic backgrounds.
  • Performance management: This section is about ensuring processes related to the assessment of performance are fair and that they do not discriminate against employees based on their cultural and/or linguistic background.

What type of organisation does it apply to:

It applies to organisations of all sizes and types, regardless of their location or industry. It is particularly useful for those with a global workforce or those operating in multicultural environments.

ISO 30071 is a valuable resource for organizations that wish to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

By following the guidelines set out in the standard, organisations can create an environment where all employees feel valued and can contribute to the success of the organisation.

By following ISO 30071: 2019 guidelines, organisations can create an environment where all employees feel valued.

Tips for designing an accessible website for people who are deaf or have hearing problems

Why design an accessible website for people who are deaf or have hearing problems?

Website designers increasingly use videos to get their message across. That’s good, it is a powerful communication tool.  However, as you can imagine, that’s a problem for visitors who can’t hear the audio contained in your video. They miss out on your content, and you miss out on finding new customers for your services or products.

Here are some tips for ensuring your content is accessible to people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

People who are deaf or have hearing problems rely on text, captions, transcripts, and assistive technology to access digital content

1. Use simple and clear language

Avoid jargon or complex language. Many people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment use sign language to communicate. And the thing to remember is that sign language is not the same as written English, it is a language in its own right. For sign language users to understand your message, it must be clearly written.

2. Caption videos and audio content and provide a transcript

Captioning makes it possible for people with hearing impairments to follow the dialogue in videos and audio content. I recommend you also provide a transcript, i.e.,  a written version of your audio and video content. And if you have the resources, provide a sign-language interpreter via video or a signing avatar.

3. Audio and Video Player Controls

Ensure you provide visible controls for audio and video players. Visible controls make it possible for people for visitors to control the playback of audio and video content.

4. Design your website so that it is compatible with assistive technologies

Designing websites that are compatible with assistive technology ensures that people who are deaf or have hearing impairments can access your content. Ensure your code is written to comply with the appropriate (X)HTML markup standards and that you adhere to the most up-to-date WCAG guidelines – up to a least AA standard. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They contain a huge amount of useful information for making your content accessible. They are also the defacto accessibility guidelines for online content.

Inclusion is not only important, but it is also the law

Designing an accessible website ensures that people who are deaf or have problems with their hearing can access your content. Designing your website so that is it accessible to the widest possible audience is not only the right thing to do, it is a legal requirement, under the Equality Act 2010.

Website Accessibility and Your Legal Obligations in the UK

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.

How to Design an Accessible Website for People with Visual Impairments and People Who Are Blind

Many disabled people, including people with visual impairments, and people who are blind, face significant challenges when using websites – when they are not designed with accessibility in mind. Website accessibility is crucial for ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities can access online content, in our increasingly digitised world.

It is not only important for creating an inclusive digital environment, but it is also a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. Thankfully though, there are website accessibility guidelines we can use to ensure our websites are accessible to people who are blind or who have a visual impairment.

Understanding visual impairments:

Visual impairments refer to a wide range of conditions that affect the eyes or the brain’s ability to process visual information. Some common visual impairments include low vision, color blindness, and total blindness. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that reading text, navigating web pages, and interpreting images are all going to be more difficult if you can see web page content very well, or not at all.

Key considerations for designing an accessible website for people with visual impairments:

There are several things that website designers should keep in mind when designing an accessible website for people with visual impairments. These include:

  1. Color contrast and font size: Good contrast between text and background colors is important, and font sizes should be adjustable. Here is an article to help you understand the basics of colour contrast.
  2. Alternative text for images: All images should have alternative text that describes the content of the image for screen readers.
  3. Screen reader compatibility: Websites should be compatible with screen readers, which are software programs that read web content aloud. JAWS from Freedom Scientific is probably the most well know screen reader but it is quite expensive. Here is a list of free screen readers that you can use to get a sense of how a blind or visually impaired person accesses website content.
  4. Keyboard navigation: Websites should be designed with keyboard navigation in mind. Visitors should be able to navigate the site using only their keyboard.
  5. Audio descriptions and transcripts: Video content should have audio descriptions and transcripts.

Tips for testing website accessibility:

Designers should use accessibility tools such as WAVE to get a quick sense of accessibility problems that might exist. However, it is also important conduct user testing with disabled people. Disabled people will provide valuable insight into how accessible the website is ‘in the real world’. Website accessibility is an ongoing process, and designers should regularly review and update accessibility features. Providing accessible alternatives for inaccessible content, such as video transcripts for video audio can help maintain website accessibility.

Designing an accessible website is not only important for creating an inclusive digital environment but as I mentioned earlier, it is also a legal requirement. By considering the needs of people with visual impairments and following WCAG 2.1 website accessibility guidelines, designers can ensure that their websites are accessible to everyone. As website designers, we have a responsibility to our site visitors. We should take action towards making the internet a more inclusive place for disabled people, particularly for people with visual impairments and people who are blind.

The Future of Accessible Web Design for Charities – including the Impact of Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT and Similar Services

Charities play a vital role in society, their websites are often the first point of contact for potential donors and volunteers. Therefore, it is crucial that these websites are accessible to everyone, including disabled people.

The Current State of Accessible Web Design for Charities:

Charities face unique accessibility challenges when it comes to web design. For example, they often have limited resources and may not have access to the latest technology or design expertise. Additionally, they often serve a diverse audience with a range of impairments, making it challenging to design a site that meets everyone’s needs.

Despite these challenges, many charities are recognizing the importance of accessibility and working to make their websites more inclusive.

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI), ChatGT and similar technologies

As technology continues to evolve, there is great potential for the use of AI, ChatGT, and similar technologies to make charity websites more accessible, more intuitive and personalised to individual users’ needs.

The following list shows some of the ways that Artificial intelligence, ChatGPT and similar services can help charities:

  • Assistive Technology: AI can be integrated into assistive technology, such as screen readers and voice recognition software. This can help disabled users navigate the website more easily making them more accessible to visually impaired individuals.
  • Natural Language Processing: AI-powered natural language processing (NLP) can help improve the website’s readability and comprehension for users with cognitive disabilities. This can help the organization ensure that all users can understand the content on the website.
  • Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can provide instant support to disabled users who may have difficulty navigating the website. Chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, provide assistance with filling out forms, and even provide emotional support.
  • Captioning and Transcription: AI algorithms can be used to automatically generate captions and transcriptions for videos and audio files on the website. This can help make the content more accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

As you can see, AI and ChatGPT have the potential to help. It can do this by identifying barriers to access, empowering assistive technology, improving readability, providing instant support, and generating captions and transcriptions for multimedia content. Bear in mind that automatically generated captions and transcripts are not always accurate so you will still have to check and edit the text generated.

Best Practices for Accessible Web Design for Non-Profits and Charities:

AI will help, however, it is essential to build an accessible website to start with. This means involving disabled people early in the design process, conducting user testing and feedback, and ensuring that accessibility is a priority throughout the development process. Here are some of the basic principles charities should follow:

  • Ensure clear navigation: Ensure that your website’s navigation is clear and easy to use, with descriptive labels and logical order.
  • Use of Alt text: Alt text is used to describe images for users who cannot see them. Use descriptive, concise language to ensure that all users can understand the content.
  • Ensure your design is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of visitors with different Impairments, For example, people with visual impairments may need larger text or high contrast colors – however, that does not mean designing the website just for that audience – what it means is ensure that this audience can change these design elements it to suit their own needs.
  • User Testing and Feedback: Conduct user testing and gather feedback from disabled people to ensure that your website is accessible and meets their needs.

Accessible web design is crucial for charities because it ensures that everyone has access to their valuable content. As technology continues to evolve, there is great potential for AI, ChatGPT and similar technologies, but it is not the full picture; it is essential for charities to design their websites with accessibility in mind from the outset. A website that is inclusive, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone, including disabled people, is what every organisation should be aiming for.

Get in touch today: Tel: 07810 098 119


The Role of Color Contrast in Accessible Web Design

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


WCAG 2.1 AA – What Does That Mean?

WCAG 2.1 AA is a set of accessibility guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They provide a framework for web developers and designers to create websites accessible to all, including disabled people.

The “AA” in WCAG 2.1 AA stands for “Level AA,” which is the second-highest level of accessibility compliance. AA is the level that many governments consider to be the minimum accessibility requirement for a website. The guidelines are organised into four principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. There are four principles, each with their own guidelines and success criteria that must be met to achieve the desired WCAG level of accessibility.

  • Perceivable: This principle requires that Information and user interface components be presentable to users in ways they can perceive no matter their impairment and/or abilities. So that means, for example, that you should ensure images have alternative text, colour is not the only way that meaning is conveyed.
  • Operable: This principle requires that all functionality on a website be operable using a range of input methods, such as a keyboard, a mouse or any other access technology. This includes ensuring that links and buttons are easily identifiable and that there is enough time for users to complete tasks.
  • Understandable: It should be easy to understand page content and easy to use any features on the page such as navigation and any dynamic elements.
  • Robust: This principle requires that all content on a website be designed using the latest web technologies and standards. This includes ensuring that the website works with a range of assistive technologies, such as screen readers and voice recognition software.

Meeting the WCAG 2.1 AA standard is essential for creating a website that is accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or impairment. By following these guidelines, web developers and designers can help all users navigate websites, regardless of any physical or cognitive barriers.

WCAG 2.1 AA – Tell me again what does that mean?

The WCAG 2.1 AA standard is a set of accessibility guidelines that help web developers and designers create websites that are accessible to disabled people. By adhering to these guidelines, websites are said to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, which ensures that all users can access them. Now, I know that’s a lot of jargon so I’ve written a short article that translates these concepts into what I call ‘Jim Speak’, i.e., I explain what perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust means in ordinary language.

Get in touch today: Tel: 07810 098 119


Why Your Website Needs to be Accessible: Insights from a Web Accessibility Agency

Websites are essential for businesses and organisations to connect with their customers and audiences. However, what many people don’t realise is that not all users can easily access to their content. For disabled people or people with accessibility needs, accessing and using websites can be a challenge. That’s why web accessibility is so important, and why businesses and organisations need to prioritize it. And it’s also where a Web Accessibility Agency can help.

What does web accessibility mean?

At its core, web accessibility means designing and developing websites that can be used by everyone, regardless of their abilities or impairments. This includes people with visual or hearing impairments, physical impairments, cognitive impairments, and more. By making websites more accessible, businesses and organisations are creating a more inclusive online experience for all users.

So why does your website need to be accessible? Insights from web accessibility agencies:

First and foremost, web accessibility is a legal requirement. The Equality Act 2010 mandates that websites must be accessible to disabled people. And the British Standard (BS) 8878 is designed to help you commission such a website from a website design agency that understands accessibility and has a focus on equality access. In recent years, there have been lawsuits against companies for having inaccessible websites. Although, as of today, there have been no prosecutions in the UK, we can contrast that with the US, where the number of accessibility lawsuits rose 250% between 2017 and 2021. By prioritizing web accessibility, businesses and organisations can ensure compliance with these legal requirements.

But web accessibility isn’t just about following the law

Web accessibility isn’t just about following the law, there are many benefits to making your website more accessible. It can make it easier for all visitors to use: creating a more positive experience for all. This can lead to increased website traffic, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, if you are a business, more revenue. If you are a charity or a non-profit organisation it helps your visitors to find the information/service they are after – and it strengthens your brand.

It’s also about brand reputation and customer loyalty

As I mentioned above, prioritising web accessibility can have a positive impact on brand reputation and customer loyalty. By showing that you value all users, you can build trust and loyalty with your audience. This can lead to long-term customer relationships and a stronger brand reputation.

Of course, making your website more accessible isn’t always easy. There are many common web accessibility issues that businesses and organisations need to address. These include things like lack of alt text for images, inaccessible forms and links, and inconsistent navigation and layout. For example,  a visitor who is blind, will not know the purposes or the non-text content of your images unless you provide text alternatives.

One of the best ways to ensure web accessibility is to work with a web accessibility agency

These agencies have expert knowledge and experience in web accessibility, and can provide a range of services to help businesses and organisations improve their website accessibility. This includes accessibility audits and testing, accessibility training and education, and ongoing support and maintenance.

Web accessibility is essential for businesses and organisations that want to create a more inclusive online experience for all users. By prioritising web accessibility, businesses and organisations can ensure legal compliance, improve the user experience for all users, and build trust and loyalty with their audiences. A good way to ensure web accessibility is to work with a web accessibility agency. One that has knowledge and experience and knowledge in this area and can work with you to understand your specific needs.

Get in touch today: Tel: 07810 098 119


Why Accessibility is Crucial for Third Sector Organisations

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.

Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design is celebrating 20 years ensuring equal access for disabled people

This year is the 20th birthday of my business, Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design.

Here is the press release I put together with Rebecca Appleton of Dakota Digital. Forgive my hyperbole – but 20 years of helping to ensure equal access for disabled people to digital content is definitely worth celebrating.

Multi Award-Winning Accessible Website Design Business Celebrates 20th Years At The Top

Jim Byrne, a pioneer of equal access to websites and digital content for disabled people, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Accessible Website Design & Accessibility Auditing business – and remains as passionate about his mission today as he was on day one.

Jim first realised the importance of digital access for disabled people in the 90s, and that realisation forever changed his career path. In 1996 he founded one of the UK’s first web accessibility consultancies and was a founding member of the Guild of Accessible Web Designers (GAWDS). As the director of GAWDS, he gave feedback on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2) which are now used by governments around the world.

“Equal access to websites and digital content for everyone is still my focus,” Jim says. “Lack of accessibility is a form of discrimination against disabled people. It was unacceptable back when I started and, with so many services and resources almost exclusively available online, it is unacceptable now.”

The importance of digital accessibility has grown since Jim Byrne began his work and UK law has changed to reflect this. Under the Equality Act of 2010, website owners are obliged to ensure that their websites are accessible to all users. To help with this, Jim’s business offers a WCAG 2 accessibility auditing service to check whether websites comply with the law. Additionally, he offers an accessible website design service and accessibility training for website designers.

Ralph Mackenzie, Front-End Website Designer/Developer for the University of Strathclyde, said, “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.”

Through its two decades of activity, Jim Byrne Accessible Website Design & Accessibility Auditing has received several awards – including the Global Bangemann Award, presented by the King of Sweden himself.

Get in touch if you want to chat: 07810 098 119 🙂

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