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ReachDeck helps Coventry City Council offer a friendly online experience

Coventry City Council serves 345,000 citizens in the West Midlands. The Council is a hub of local information, helping residents and visitors to take advantage of the many great things that Coventry has to offer.

Back in 2014, Coventry City Council enlisted the help of BrowseAloud, now part of the ReachDeck package, to improve the accessibility of their website. Read their customer story to hear how they have created a friendly and inclusive online experience for their users.

Outcomes

  • Reachdeck helps Coventry City Council ensure their website meets global accessibility standards
  • The accessibility toolbar helps users with visual or literacy impairments to navigate their site
  • The council's digital services are now much more user-friendly

The background

Coventry City Council serves 345,000 citizens in the West Midlands. The Council is a hub of local information, helping residents and visitors to take advantage of the many great things that Coventry has to offer.

Like other city councils, Coventry relies heavily on its main website, www.coventry.gov.uk. This provides a widely-visited focal point for members of the public to ‘self-serve’ and access information on jobs, housing, education, benefits, social care and a host of other local services.

The challenge

Recognising the diverse backgrounds and accessibility needs of the community it serves, Coventry City Council was looking for ways to provide a more inclusive, user-friendly online experience.

E-comms Coordinator Alison Hook oversees a wide range of digital communication channels, spanning the web, staff management portal and email marketing, as well as Coventry's active social media channels.

"Today there’s much less reliance on printed materials. And with more of our communications going online, we have to make sure that everything meets stringent quality and accessibility standards."

The solution

Since 2014, Coventry has given its website an accessibility boost with the addition of ReachDeck. Clicking a friendly ‘headphone’ icon on each webpage opens a palette of useful features, including text-to-speech, a screen magnifier and translation to other languages. It’s a big help for a wide range of site visitors, including people with literacy challenges like dyslexia as well as those whose first language isn’t English.

Lasting impact

ReachDeck has been enthusiastically received at the city’s Customer Service Centre, where members of the public can drop in without an appointment to pay bills, claim benefits, ask advice and access other services. Staff equipped with touchscreen laptops guide citizens through using the web site to perform day-to-day tasks.

“Quite a few of our visitors – especially older people – appreciate a bit of hand-holding to help them understand digital services” says Alison. “But once they’ve had some face-to-face assistance from our staff, it’s really satisfying to see them becoming more confident using the web by themselves.”

Alison also praises the Texthelp team’s speed and efficiency in implementing ReachDeck on Coventry’s additional online resources:

“We’re frequently launching new sites for special events, such as the city’s Half Marathon. Working with Texthelp to update these sites with ReachDeck is really easy – it just works. They’ll make the necessary tweaks and send them to us in what often seems like just minutes. We simply add the code to our site – and it’s job done.”

“With ReachDeck it’s really simple. Our site visitors don’t need to install any special software or do anything different: it’s just there whenever they need it.” 

ReachDeck

As well as the accessibility toolbar, ReachDeck's features also include:

  • The ReachDeck Auditor identifies accessibility errors across your website. It highlights WCAG compliance errors at Level A, AA and AAA, and identifies readability errors such as overuse of jargon or long sentences
  • The ReachDeck Editor helps improve the quality and accessibility of written content. As you type, grammar, spelling and readability errors are identified. This helps organisations edit content in line with best practice.

These features identify accessibility barriers quickly and at scale, helping organisations ensure their content can be understood by everyone. 

Discover ReachDeck

Breaks down communication barriers. Improve the accessibility, readability and reach of your online content.