The UK government is seeking feedback on digital accessibility in the public sector, ahead of a programme of change set to begin later this year – an effort that has received praise from Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, a leader in digital governance and content quality management.
The government will be implementing the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps from September, and is inviting feedback from all interested parties, including both organizations and individuals.
The Directive calls for sites to be made more accessible – they should be “perceivable, operable, understandable and robust,” with the measures described in European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) representing a minimum level of delivery (matching the WCAG 2.0 AA rating).
Public sector bodies will have to demonstrate that they are compliant; resolve issues (or explain why this is not possible and provide alternatives); monitor their compliance over time; and be fully compliant by 2021.
Sitemorse already allows digital managers to see where they stand as to their levels of compliance, with targeted recommendations to make major changes fast. This will help them meet the Directive early and help their website users and customers.
Sitemorse provides the only digital governance monitoring service that provides prioritised reports, delivering a top ten pages list that highlights the most urgent issues. These are customised to the individual’s role and responsibilities, and do away with the chore of dealing with endless reporting.
The service also enables ongoing monitoring and highlights accessibility issues – so these can be resolved quickly. Furthermore, reports can be used to demonstrate compliance and a programme of maintenance and improvement.
Additionally, the service helps digital managers to monitor areas such as functionality, site performance, metadata and HTML quality and issues such as broken links and email addresses.
Sitemorse has numerous clients across the government, higher education and UK police forces – and is frequently cited as leading the field for digital governance monitoring.
While the leaders for digital governance in local government perform well (such as Harrogate Borough Council which came first in Q1 and Q2 2018), no site in the bottom third of the list scored above 6 out of 10 for accessibility and these councils will be most affected by the Directive. Chesterfield Borough Council, for example, scored 0 for functionality and accessibility and will need to address these issues to comply with the Directive.
In the central government INDEX, the performance is generally less good with only 9 out of 203 sites scoring above 6 out of 10. UK Sport, Historic England, The Royal Family and data.gov.uk – “Opening up government” – all scored 0 out of 10 for accessibility. The full results for the Q1 2018 local government INDEX can be found here; and the results of the central government INDEX can be found here.
Sitemorse service client, Clare Cryer – the Web and Intranet Support Officer for Harrogate Borough Council – said, “Sitemorse makes my job easier, and a lot more enjoyable. I just know everything is checked, compliant and correct, every second. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Rob Thompson, Web Content Manager at The Pensions Regulator said, “Sitemorse [is] a key performance indicator for us. We use Sitemorse to monitor the quality of our coding and content, accessibility, SEO and overall performance. It’s useful to see how we compare to other organisations, in both the public and private sectors. We could see that the improvements that we made were measurable and therefore making a difference to our overall scores.”
CEO Lawrence Shaw said, “Sitemorse strongly supports discussion and debate regarding digital accessibility and how standards can be improved. Enthusiasm is often voiced for accessibility but many organisations fall short, so seeing consistently high performance would be a great achievement for the sector. Looking ahead, the key challenge for digital accessibility delivery is likely ongoing monitoring. After all, even when a high standard has been reached, performance will quickly deteriorate without checks.”
If you would like to discuss digital accessibility, or how it can be improved on your domain/s, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sitemorse (www.Sitemorse.com) helps organizations to efficiently drive improved user experience, ensuring that content is always optimised and that compliance requirements are always met. With clients in every corner of the world, Sitemorse (www.Sitemorse.com) sets out to remove endless reporting from Digital Governance and to instead provide actionable insights so that major changes can be made quickly.
The company has now been moving the field of Digital Governance forwards for over 15 years, while remaining privately owned, and continues to provide clients with new tools and capabilities every year. Most recently, this has included a focus on extending capabilities directly within the CMS, as well as addressing the governance / QA service issue of ‘endless reporting’.
Sitemorse (www.Sitemorse.com) helps digital managers to build strong processes and accountability, to minimise risks and to achieve the highest standards of content quality. And with Sitemorse (www.Sitemorse.com), there is no need for the substantial infrastructure, support and accordant costs that are required for manual quality and compliance checks.