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Adam Turner

Reporting to Show Improving Website Accessibility


Measurement and reporting are critically important in being able to successfully improve accessibility, moving towards compliance with the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. While you need to use testing, measurement, and related reporting to verify that you are moving towards compliance, they also play a deeper role in:

  • Keeping on top of accessibility compliance through continual measurement
  • Giving confidence to senior stakeholders across your organisation that compliance is being reached or accessibility is being improved
  • Providing motivation and focus for digital teams to work on and improve accessibility.

The same principles can also apply to other aspects of digital and website improvement, including SEO, content quality and more.

The importance of reporting formats and interfaces

While of course it is important what you measure, it is just as important to consider the format and presentation of your reporting, including the dashboards where you track your progress. It is important to get this right for a number of reasons:

  • Digital teams are very busy with a lot of demands on them, so they need reporting interfaces that help them do their job, not cause barriers by being complex, difficult to understand or take time to configure.
  • Senior stakeholders need to be able to access reporting and interfaces that efficiently convey the main information they need to know as they have limited time and attention.
  • Reporting formats and interfaces need to be ‘actionable’ and help you move towards improvement, otherwise there is little point in reporting and measurement.
  • Reporting and any related dashboard also need to be flexible so you can configure it to provide specific information or drill down into more detail.
  • It goes without saying, that reporting needs to be accessible.

Eight objectives for successful reporting and dashboards

Making all that happen is easier said than done. Here are eight objectives for a successful dashboard, with some notes on how reporting is delivered in Sitemorse.

  1. Make it intuitive

    Reporting has to be easy to understand and digestible, especially for busy teams and stakeholders. Cluttered and confusing interfaces will undermine the ability to use measurement and reporting in your key processes. For example, at Sitemorse dashboards are designed with clear zones of different types of information and without overwhelming the user with too much detail.

    Image showing the 3 reporting zones

  2. Make it consistent

    A key principle to make different dashboards and reporting more intuitive is to drive some level of consistency between different views. This ensures dashboards are familiar and easier to use. For example, in the latest version of Sitemorse the “zones” described above are applied across different reporting categories covering everything from accessibility to SEO, as well as an overall website assessment summary page.

  3. Make it actionable

    The point of reporting your numbers is to drive improvement. Interfaces can be designed so they are actionable, for example indicating next steps or what can be done to make improvements. Within Sitemorse priority actions (“What to do next”) are included as a key part of the dashboard, making the reporting actionable.

  4. Provide the headlines

    Digital marketing teams do not usually have any spare time. Senior stakeholders have even less. Therefore, sometimes a dashboard needs to provide the opportunity to “glance and go” and provide the main headline numbers. In Sitemorse we built the overall website summary page to show the score for the main assessment categories as well as the overall website assessment score; these are all clear whole numbers between 0 and 10. This means that some customers are able to share the summary screen directly with senior stakeholders as part of their regular management reporting.

    Image of the report screen

  5. Provide paths to drill down into the detail

    Everybody needs to be able to access more detail if required. For example, in the above example, hovering over each category reveals more detail, or the user can click to view the whole category page. There are also paths to view more detail relating to special reporting aimed at managers and developers and more.

  6. Make it flexible

    Reporting needs to be flexible in terms of being able to define the parameters of data sets such as a period of time or to focus on different types of data. For example, in Sitemorse users can select the time period reporting from the date bar. Flexibility of formatting also has value, for example allowing the ability to download data into an Excel format.

  7. Make it effortless

    Reporting should be as effortless as possible and not take up time which could be focused on making the necessary improvements. Here automation in reporting is very important and is a cornerstone of the Sitemorse platform.

  8. Make it motivational

    Interfaces and reporting that are motivating for participants is important. This can be done in various ways, for example by emphasizing the progress made rather than the mountain to climb, and using design elements which make you want to drive improvement such as focusing on the key numbers that teams want to improve.

The importance of reporting in Sitemorse

What you measure is important, but the way this data and information is presented is just as critical. Reporting needs to be designed around the needs of those viewing the data with visually appealing dashboards that are easy to understand and digest, and both provide a quick overview but opportunities to find out more detail. If you’d like more information about how we have designed reporting dashboards in Sitemorse you can watch our video:

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