Shauna Hanna

Making our website more accessible


Creating accessible content is a challenge that many organisations around the world face on a daily basis.


making our website more accessible image

Over the course of the last number of years, we’ve been vocal advocates of online accessibility and you’ve probably heard us talk a lot about the challenges organisations face when serving online content to their visitors. 

A search of our blog categories will throw up a number of articles, ranging from basic principles of usability, to WCAG 2.0 for beginners, to impassioned thought pieces. But how do we incorporate those ideals into our very own website?

Back in 2015, I was part of a mammoth project to overhaul and develop a brand new website for Texthelp - the one that you’re currently browsing. Since then, it has grown dramatically, and we are now embarking on an internal project to improve both the accessibility and usability of the site.

Three years ago our website was designed to showcase Texthelp, our range of products and the different licenses available to different audiences. It quickly became clear there was an audience prepared to get quotes and buy our products online, without a need to talk to one of our team. 

Over the years, the challenge has always centred around accessibility vs customer experience - balancing accessibility requirements with the need to create outstanding customer journeys online. This means letting each of our different customer types, whether a teacher or a HR manager, find what they are looking for and perform tasks themselves, on any device. 

Initially we focussed on the following basics of accessibility:

  • Language attribution - we have 4 language versions of our site and including language attribution in the HTML allows screen-readers to read out the text with the correct pronunciation
  • Another benefit to screen-readers is our use of semantic headings and structure e.g. using HTML to identify what each heading is (H1, H2 etc.)
  • On page links are recognizable - this could be by underlining them, changing the colour or emboldening them 
  • As a matter of best practice, images with alt text to allow screen readers to describe what the image is
 

Next steps for our website 

In order to improve our accessibility, we have a backlog of projects to work on.  In the coming months, here’s what we will be working on:
  • Clearer labels for screenreaders that tell them exactly what something is or is for e.g. our search box should have a label “Enter a search term here”
  • Ensuring that pages are formatted for all devices / screen sizes to ensure no unnecessary spacing or overlapping of text and icons
  • Increase the logical layouts for forms and associated labels for all fields

Our website is constantly evolving but our commitment to website accessibility remains the same.  We strive to ensure that all our web audiences can access and understand the information on our website at any time.  Our website’s not perfect but we do our best to meet the requirements of our audiences with the resources we have available to us.  

If you’d like to learn more about our website journey, contact me for more information in the comment section below. 

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