New government legislation on Web accessibility (WCAG 2.1) means public sector organisations now have a legal duty to make sure websites and apps meet accessibility requirements.
From September 23rd 2020, you need to be mindful about any content you add yourself. As the practice is responsible for the content on your website, you’ll need to make sure the content you add is compliant. Content can mean anything from uploaded documents or images, links to other websites, and adding videos or adding text.
Below, we've put together a few things to look out for when adding content.
Alt Tags for Images
Search engines cannot interpret images. Alt text is an attribute applied to images which provide a text alternative for search engines. Images with properly formatted alt text contribute to how that page is indexed and where it ranks. Alt tags are vital for users viewing a webpage on screen readers. That way, users can still access the relevant information even if they cannot see the image.
Alt tags are mandatory in your website as part of the new legislation.
When you add an image in your My Surgery Website or The Digital Practice platform, you'll need to put in a description.
In My Surgery Website, add a description into the "Name" field:
In The Digital Practice, add a description into the "Alternative Tags" field:
You will not be able to upload your image until you enter an Alt description.
It’s important that any headings you’re using are styled properly. This is because some users with visual impairments use tools called ‘screen readers’ that readout page content to them.
Screen reader users often jump through the list of headings in a document so they can skip to the content they’re looking for.
If you’re styling headings just using bold, or by using bigger font, then screen readers will not recognise them as headings. This will stop users from skipping straight to the content they need.
To check your headings are styled properly, select the text with your mouse in the editor.
In the example below, our mouse is selected at the end of the "My Surgery Website Demo" heading. In the bottom left of the editor, you'll see that H1 (Heading 1) is the heading that has been used.
If you've used a heading you'll see H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 or H6. If you've used a Paragraph you'll see P in the bottom-left.
Highlighting the text and select TEXT STYLE and your desired heading allows you to change the heading size as seen below:
Check the documents have meaningful titles
First, check the documents that you've uploaded, and upload in the future have descriptive titles that explain what they’re for.
An example of a good title is something like “New Patient Application form”, as it makes clear what the document is and what a user would use it for.
Something like “ScannedDocumentRegForm” is not as good, because it’s vague and does not explain in enough detail what the document is.
To help with this, rename your file on your computer before you upload the document. When uploading the document ensure the "Name" field has a clear descriptive title as seen below:
Some users with visual impairments will not be able to interact with your website if the colour contrast is set incorrectly.
So check the colour contrast on your website pages, including any PDFs or other document types. This could range from banners that you want to upload, newsletters, documents, PDFs and images.
You’ll need to check that the contrast ratio between text and the background colour of your website is at least 4.52.
You can use the Accessible Colours website to check the text and background colours.
Further Accessibility Checks
For a full range of checks. Visit the Gov.UK - Accessibility Requirements website which outlines how you can do an accessibility check on your website.