Ensuring Accessibility Best Practice for the British Dental Association

The British Dental Association (BDA) stands as the authoritative voice for dentists and dental students throughout the UK. Managed by dentists for dentists, the BDA offers an extensive range of expert online advice, equips professionals with various resources to ensure up to date skills and knowledge and, as a trade union, represents the dental profession in its interactions with governmental bodies and employers.

Central to the BDA’s mission is its website - a cornerstone of its operations. After years of managing the website in-house, a decision was made to outsource the development of a new site to an external agency.

A Commitment to Users

At the heart of this development was the BDA's commitment to creating a user-friendly and contemporary site, which inherently includes meeting accessibility standards.

With a new CMS and a new set of forms to contend with, and a third-party agency now responsible for the site development, the BDA turned to Sitemorse for an objective assessment of the new site’s performance.

"From the very beginning of the website project, the aim was to create a website that put the user first – no matter who they were or how they accessed the content," explains Klara Nordström, Head of Digital Content at the British Dental Association. "We chose to use Sitemorse to assess, certify, and benchmark our site structure and content. The functional and compliance assessments the software provides are vitally important to achieving our aims, as are its performance measurements."

Klara continues: "Measurement and data have been crucial to track progress and judge success throughout the project. During the build phase, Sitemorse helped us track how our build was progressing, quality and performance-wise. And now we've launched, we use Sitemorse to provide a neutral and continuous third-party assessment of the live product, which can help us map out the next steps for both our external developers and our in-house editors."

Cutting Through the Tech Talk

While the BDA has already identified areas of focus for delivering a gold-standard website, Klara highlights Sitemorse’s role in simplifying technical complexities into understandable, non-technical language.

"Sitemorse is such a user-friendly tool. A lot of things are self-explanatory, but for a non-developer, knowing, in layman's terms, what was going on and understanding what the developer needed to do was very helpful. You could say it was a sense check.

This ease of use enables you to get where you need to be faster. I want to know what I need to do without spending time digging for the information, which is exactly what Sitemorse does. It’s intuitive, reports are easy to understand, and the information provided hones in on what's needed to develop a best-in-class, accessible website without paying for functions you don't have the resources to use, which can be the case with other software. The prioritisation of functionality is excellent."

More Than Just Software

Klara is quick to add that Sitemorse is about more than just the software, with the support provided by the business adding to the feeling of confidence.

"Having worked with many other similar companies or services of this kind, I've really appreciated how approachable, helpful, personable and responsive Sitemorse has been. It's always felt very familiar, like they know who we are. We’re not just another number. I felt very happy asking questions or requesting an extra report, for example."

A Gold Standard Website

The result of the BDA’s efforts to establish a gold-standard accessible website, supported by Sitemorse, is evident. Accessibility scores have doubled compared to the previous site, showcasing the tangible impact of their collaborative efforts.

"I’m delighted with our new website and proud that we have a platform accessible to more users than ever before. Sitemorse has been central to this success and will continue to be as we work to improve further based on the insight it provides."

A Unified Vision for Digital Accessibility

The partnership between the BDA and Sitemorse exemplifies a shared commitment to advancing digital accessibility and enhancing user experiences. By prioritising user needs and leveraging cutting-edge technology, the BDA has successfully launched a gold-standard website. Looking towards the future, both Sitemorse and the BDA aspire to collaborate with dentists, empowering them to manage content more effectively, ensuring even greater compliance and reducing costs.

Highlighting his dedication, Lawrence Shaw, Sitemorse CEO, expresses, "In line with the BDA’s commitment to supporting members and recognising the growing importance of digitalisation in the wider dental sector, we welcome the opportunity to provide education and practical advice on the ongoing compliance demands of the digital landscape, ensuring the sector can cost-effectively embrace regulation without distraction."

With Sitemorse’s ongoing support and guidance, the BDA is well-equipped to navigate future challenges and sustain its mission of providing inclusive, high-quality online resources and services for the dental community.