Websites must be as accessible as possible for all users, including people with disabilities. Badly designed and implemented websites can make it difficult or impossible for disabled people to use the internet, including those using assistive technologies, for example, text-to-speech screenreaders. Other factors include legal requirements, pressure from government policy and simple good practice in the commissioning and supply of websites. Accessibility should be 'built in' rather than be regarded as an extra layer of usability for a minority of users, not least because accessible websites are easier for everyone to use. Sites should be built to the WCAG 2.0 global web standard.
KEY CC = County Council, SD = Shire district, LB = London borough, MD = Metropolitan district, EU = English unitary, WU = Welsh unitary, SU = Scottish unitary, NI = Northern Ireland district
|Accessibility (% Pass)||43%||52%||36%||47%||46%||69%||41%||45%|
All councils (407) were tested for accessibility using four tests. Three tasks from the main survey for each website (one on a mobile device), with the fourth test being on a random selection of the website’s top pages. Tasks tested for different council types were:
Counties and single tier
Shire districts and Northern Ireland
The Digital Accessibility Centre tests websites for Better connected using WCAG 2.0 as the reference. Sites rated satisfactory or very good overall by DAC pass the Better connected standard. In 2015, 43% of all councils did so.
14 design and coding best practices were covered in the assessment:
Each criterion was then assigned points and a weight based on the severity and/or frequency of occurrence. The final score for each test was calculated by combining the results for the 14 criteria.
For each website DAC calculated the final score as a combination of the scores given to each of the four tests (including the top-level pages assessment):
Very good (3): sites needed to obtain a score of 3 for at least three of the tests, and 2 for the remaining test.
Satisfactory (2): a website with three tests scoring 3, but 0 or 1 for the remaining test or three tests with 2 and a score other than 0 for the remaining test.
Poor (1): any combination of three tasks scoring 1, regardless of the result of the fourth test.
Inaccessible (0): three tests scoring 0.
|Report street lighting failure||26%|
|Apply for a blue badge||78%|
|Find out how to register a death||81%|
|Top level pages||89%|
|Report missed bin (mobile)||31%|
|Report bonfire problem||30%|
|Find out how to vote||76%|
|Top level pages||69%|
|Single tier councils*|
|Report street lighting failure||36%|
|Apply for a blue badge||59%|
|Find out how to register a death||81%|
|Top level pages||73%|
|Nothern Ireland (one council tested)|
|Report missed bin (mobile)||100%|
|Report bonfire problem||50%|
|Find out how to vote||50%|
|Top level pages||100%|
|All councils summary|
|Task 1 from mobile devices||33%|
|Task 2 from desktop||46%|
|Task 3 from desktop||78%|
|Top level pages||72%|
The results indicate a significant improvement in performance since 2014. Results for task 1 (the mobile task) are nearly the same, task 2 shows an improvement, task 3 shows a significant improvement, and the top-level page test has significantly improved.
176 councils (43%) were rated as satisfactory, ie having few serious and practical accessibility problems, compared with 105 councils (26%) in 2014. However, only three sites out of this total were rated very good.
Seven sites (2%) were rated inaccessible and another 225 sites (55%) were rated poor. The average performance of the two mobile tasks (34% satisfactory or above) was much lower than the average of the two desktop tasks (62%).
The performance of accessible websites in the rest of the Better connected testing was compared with that of the rest. Accessible websites perform 41% better than the others, with 3.5 successful tasks in the main survey as compared with 2.5 in the case of inaccessible site. In a second comparison, overall reviewer rating, councils that passed the accessibility standard performed 23% better than those that failed.
The most common reasons for failure of the accessibility standard from desktops were:
and from mobiles:
Councils achieving a rating of very good overall for accessibility
Each council that subscribes to Better connected gets its own accessibility report compiled by the Digital Accessiblity Centre. Reports can be downloaded from https://khub.net/group/socitm-insight/library