These tips are intended to help you understand some of the things to do, and to avoid, when designing good quality content that will offer a great user experience on a fully accessible website.
The council has 3 core websites with a strong centralised presence. The Kirklees website, My Kirklees Account and Kirklees Together give citizens a seamless user journey to access most council information and transactions. Solutions will primarily be in-house and on these sites, although exceptions for third party websites may be possible when meeting clearly defined criteria.
Delivering Class Leading Internet Services (DCLIS) - Framework and Principles tells you more about this.
The digital access ramp
This a great way to help people understand how provision of inaccessible online content creates a barrier to understanding for many people.
You are invited to occupy a new building with all sorts of modern, desirable features, but it has six steps to the entrance and no access ramp. The lack of an access ramp excludes some people from entering the building. You won't move in until access for all has been provided.
Similarly, an inaccessible website doesn't offer a digital access ramp to allow everybody to access your online service provision.
Design for mobile first
Most of your site visitors are using a mobile device. As an example, visits to the Kirklees website in September 2023 were:
- 66% mobile
- 31% desktop
- 3% tablet
Don't use an accessibility overlay
- They may make it difficult for assistive technology users to use the technology they are used to using every day on their own device
- They are a poor substitute for fixing the issues with your website
Overlay Fact Sheet tells you more.
Use the correct heading structure
- Make sure every page has a heading level 1 title tag
- Don't skip headings, for instance from heading level 1 straight to heading level 3
Home Office Design System: Headings explains this and gives guidance on creating good headings.
Skip to content
- Don't force many assistive technology users to listen to your entire top navigation menu every time they visit a page.
- Instead, make sure you have a 'Skip to content' option at the top of every page
WebAIM: Skip navigation links discusses options for implementation.
- Make sure there is always sufficient colour contrast between text and background colours
- Poor colour contrast means some people can't read your content
RGB to HEX color converter converts colours into the hex format used on webpages.
WebAIM: Contrast checker shows the accessibility of any hex colour combination.
Use descriptive hyperlink text
- Make sure links make sense out of context
- Don't use click here' links
- Use distinct hyperlink text for every link
Creating accessible hyperlinks tells you more.
Use plain English capitalisation and an easy to read font
- Don't use ALL CAPITALS
- Don't Capitalise The First Letter Of Every Word (except where appropriate)
Plain English Campaign: Capital letters gives great guidance.
Use well-written alternative text (alt text) tags
- Write alt text that is useful to the readership that relies on it
- Don't start your alt text with 'Image of...' Assistive technology tells the user they are being told information about an image
Is alternative text making your site less accessible? gives great guidance.
Consider the utility of carousels or sliders
Most site visitors don't interact with carousels, yet this little used feature is the most prominent element on many site homepages.
If you include a carousel:
- make sure its transition speed isn't too fast and make sure it can be paused
- don't use it as a navigational element
Sliders suck and should be banned from your website gives somer of the evidence about poor user engagement and the negative impact on search optimisation of carousels.
Should I use a carousel? is a humorous presentation that illustrates a problem with carousels.
Designing safer web animation for motion sensitivity explains how to avoid causing harm to some website visitors with animations that can trigger negative reactions.
Make phone numbers clickable
If you don't, then people visiting your site on a mobile phone have to copy it and paste it into their call facility. That can be difficult for many people, it's better to facilitate a single click to phone the number.
If you have to publish documents, make sure they are accessible
If you can avoid it, don't publish documents. Publish webpages instead.
- Google drops documents in search results because they are print format files
- Even when made accessible, they are difficult to navigate on a mobile phone
Document properties describes a good practice for all published documents.
Avoid FAQs (frequently asked questions)
Instead, write concise, well-structured content under clearly defined headings and subheadings.
- They present a, usually random, list of things which may or may not be frequently asked
- They are one of the least liked formats by consumers of content online
Why we don't publish FAQs (frequently asked questions) tells you more about the format.
Writing copy for the web offers some simple suggestions for writing engaging online copy.
Website standards and guidance includes further guidance on accessibility and other good practice.