Council Websites & WCAG 2.2AA Accessibility

Home Website accessibility Council Websites & WCAG 2.2AA Accessibility

Parish and Town Council Websites should aim to be accessible for as many people as possible. To help achieve this, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (known as WCAG) provide a set of guidelines to follow. Intranet and extranet websites are also covered by these regulations.

From October 2024, online content published by councils will need to meet the WCAG2.2AA Accessibility Guidelines. It is also recommended that parish and town councils use a domain for both website and email addresses, so recipients can trust they have been sent from a safe source.

The guidelines state that council websites should consider those website visitors with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

Creating an accessible website means designing and developing it in a way that ensures people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the content effectively. Here are our tips on ensuring your council website is accessible:

  1. Accessible PDFs

    Common accessibility problems can include PDF forms that cannot be read by screen readers. Instead use accessible PDFs that meet accessibility standards.
  2. Ensure Colour Contrast

    Website colour choices can make reading content difficult – we recently wrote about choosing the right colour scheme for your website. Maintain sufficient colour contrast between text and background to make content readable for users with visual impairments.
  3. Provide Alternative Text for Images

    Use descriptive alt text for all images, so screen readers can convey the information to users who are visually impaired.
  4. Create Keyboard-Friendly Navigation

    Ensure that all functionality on the website can be operated using a keyboard. Users with mobility issues may rely on keyboard navigation.
  5. Use Properly Structured HTML

    Properly structure your HTML using semantic elements like headings, lists, and paragraphs. This helps screen readers interpret the content more accurately.
  6. Provide Captions and Transcripts for Multimedia

    Include captions for videos and provide transcripts for audio content. This benefits users with hearing impairments and those who cannot access multimedia content.
  7. Create Responsive Design

    Ensure your website is responsive and adapts to different screen sizes and devices. This benefits users with various disabilities who may use different devices or screen sizes.
  8. Test with Accessibility Tools

    Regularly update and test your website – sites such as WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) or Lighthouse can help you assess the accessibility of your website.
  9. Provide Clear and Consistent Navigation

    Ensure that navigation menus and links are clear, concise, and consistently structured. Users with cognitive disabilities may find this helpful.
  10. Secure Hosting

    Ensure your council website is hosted securely on a UK based server, to ensure your data stays within the EU. Also ensure your website is regularly updated, backed up, and scanned for vulnerabilities. All of our Zonkey council web servers are registered with the government’s National Cyber Security Centre Early Warning system to scan for malicious traffic.

Implementing these principles and guidelines will help you to create a more inclusive and accessible online experience for all users. It is often the users who need the information the most who will encounter the most problems in accessing it, so it is important that websites are designed accordingly.

Zonkey specialise in designing fully accessible and responsive Council Websites, with a range of affordable packages available. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

Header image by Elizabeth Woolner on Unsplash