Ideally, all websites could be used by—be accessible to—everyone. In practice, poor design, technology limitations (e.g. poorly built websites, old web browsers), and viewer's impairments (e.g. imperfect sight, shaky hands) or disabilities get in the way.
Within the constraints of the limited resources of a modest charity, this website is designed to serve the largest possible audience, including many with impairments and disabilities. This is in line with the UK's Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Accessibility of a website is also affected by its usability, dealt with lower down on this page.
Conformance with UK Accessibility Legislation
Various checks provide technical assessments against criteria recommended by authoritative bodies. The criteria assessed, and the results, are as follows:
- To assess conformance with the DDA, checks have been made against the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Using Cynthia, an automated tool to check a webpage, typical webpages on this website met WCAG level A, the minimum level advisable, when last tested.
- The website would also meet Priority 2 (i.e. level AA) conformance requirements, with minor modifications.
- For comparison, a surprising number of UK retailers—including some big-name retailers—have websites which do not meet the minimum level of accessibility (WCAG level A) over significant portions of their website, sometimes even the whole website. See Sitemorse report "UK Retail 500 Websites Qtr 2 2012".
- To assist screen readers and other assistive technologies, coding to the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for XHTML (XHTML markup validation check) and for CSS (CSS 3 validation check).
Usability Informed by Research Findings
To enhance its usability, research findings have informed this website's layout and how it works:
- e.g. clear layout; button-style main navigation; user-adjustable text size (look in your browser's menu); straightforward printing (ditto).
- measures taken to reduce loading time. Compare your experience with the times for some of the big-name retailers mentioned in the above referenced Sitemorse report.