A detailed accessibility audit of Guildford Borough Council’s extensive digital estate gave the team a clear assessment of how accessible their websites are, a practical list of fixes to improve accessibility and ongoing support to ensure accessibility compliance.
- Who: Guildford Borough Council
- What: Accessibility review of their digital estate
- How: Manual accessibility audit against the WCAG 2.1 to Level A and AA
- Result: A practical, prioritised list of accessibility fixes, a compliant accessibility statement and a green light from The Central Digital and Data Office
Guildford Borough Council (GBC), like many UK councils, have a large digital estate comprising many websites and apps. Some are built in house while others are third party services that have been skinned with the GBC branding.
GBC knew their websites were not as accessible as they could be. As a council, they are also required to comply with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, meaning they must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to Level A and AA and publish an accessibility statement online.
Given the scale of their digital estate, GBC decided to bring in external expertise to help them assess and improve the accessibility of their websites.
What we did
We kicked things off with the GBC project team by holding a Teams meeting to understand the scale of their digital estate and talk through the plan of action. In total, 9 websites were to be tested, including their main site and a number of portals Guildford residents must use to engage with the council.
To ensure a comprehensive assessment of the websites under review, we worked with the GBC team to identify a representative selection of page templates. These accounted for all functionality, design and content types across the site.
Each of the pages were subjected to a series of manual checks against the WCAG 2.1 to Level A and AA using a range of assistive technologies, such a JAWS and NVDA screen readers, ZoomText screen magnifier and Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software. In addition, page content was assessed for meaningfulness and the code was explored for errors that might impact how assistive technologies worked with the site.
On completion of the audit, we delivered GBC a detailed report identifying where the websites did not comply with the WCAG, why compliance is important, the issue, and how to fix it.
We spent time working with GBC to make sure the issues were understood and the solutions feasible. With a clear roadmap in place, we developed an accessibility statement to be displayed on the GBC websites.
Shortly after completing the accessibility audit, GBC were chosen by The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) as part of their monitoring and enforcement work. We were pleased to hear that the accessibility work done to date meant GBC were assessed as being ‘compliant’ with the UK Government accessibility regulations. A big tick in the box!
The team are now well on their way to delivering a more inclusive digital environment for their users and we look forward to continuing our work with GBC when the time comes for a re-audit.
“We worked with Web Usability on a large scale accessibility audit during the spring of 2022. We could not have been happier with the service, advice and guidance, and all round professionalism we received from Web Usability. Experts in their field, Web Usability guided us through every step of the audit, from initial kick off meeting and priority setting, right through to final report, with clear and comprehensive next steps for solutions to any accessibility issues that needed resolving. Web Usability wrote our accessibility statement and were fundamental in making sure we met the UK Government accessibility regulations.
We are passionate about making sure all customers can access our digital services – despite any disability our customer may have. Web Usability have been key in helping us move closer to achieving this goal. I would not hesitate to recommend Web Usability to anyone looking to carry out a professional accessibility audit.”
Melanie Battams – Digital Services Lead