The services we provide are for the benefit of all citizens of the United Kingdom. No user should be excluded on the basis of disability. To do so would breach the Equality Act 2010. Your services must also comply with any other legal requirements, including providing services in accordance with your Welsh Language Scheme, if you have one.
As a starting point, your service should aim to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
Technical accessibility testing
You service should be tested for technical accessibility by an accessibility expert – W3C provides a range of Accessibility Evaluation Resources.
User-based accessibility testing
Your service should be tested with disabled people, older people, and people who use assistive technologies. You should aim to do this at least twice as your service is developed.
Accessibility statements and policies
We work hard to make our sites and services as accessible and usable as we can for everyone who needs to use them. The GOV.UK website doesn’t include a separate accessibility statement, however, as we aren’t comfortable with a statement that draws a distinction between accessibility and any other aspect of best practice development. This blog post by GDS accessibility expert Léonie Watson explains in more detail why we took this decision.
Your service should be usable by recent versions of these screen readers:
Your service should also be usable by basic operating system screen magnifiers like:
Your service should be usable by speech recognition software including Dragon Naturally Speaking, and native operating system speech packages.
HTML is quicker, easier and more widely usable/accessible than PDF, but where no other option is possible this PDF guidance should be followed. There’s more information on choosing appropriate formats.
Accessibility is more than checking the boxes of standards compliance. When writing content, consider what information would be useful to people with access needs.
For instance, in a ‘find my nearest’ service, consider user needs like:
- is there disabled parking?
- how far is it from the entrance?
- what’s the terrain like? Uphill? Downhill?
- will I have to cross any roads?
You can read more about the accessibility testing we’ve carried out while building GOV.UK on this blog post by GDS Accessibility Lead Joshua Marshall.