How do we make maps accessible?

04 Oct 2022 | Accessibility

Michael Carter
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Q: How do we make maps accessible?

A: First note  The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 states that “These Regulations do not apply to the following content of a website or mobile application of a public sector body for online maps and mapping services, as long as essential information is provided in an accessible digital manner for maps intended for navigational use”. This means you need to provide any information that is essential, for example, if the map contains directions to somewhere, there must be a text equivalent either with the map or as alt-text.

Another issue we sometimes see at Sitemorse with maps is low contrast. For those with poor vision rather than no vision, a map with low contrast is about as useful as no map at all. If you are using maps, make sure the contrast is sufficient to show the essential map details for the map content.

Also check what happens when you increase the zoom level on the page. We have seen examples where, once you zoom in, the map controls obscure the map or other parts of the page, such as a cookie banner, obscuring essential information. It only takes a few seconds to zoom to 400% and check.