Highland Council Website achieves Gold Standard for digital accessibility
Cllr Bill Fernie and Digital Services Manager Darren Macleod
Highland Council’s website www.highland.gov.uk has been awarded a gold standard certificate of accreditation from the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC). This is the highest level of accreditation possible and The Highland Council is the only council in the UK that currently holds this accolade.
This award means the authority’s website is tested to work with assistive technologies such as screen readers for partially sighted and blind users, and can be navigated using only a keyboard, helping those who cannot operate a mouse. It also means the text is easily visible by users with a range of sight problems and that the wording on the site is simple and easy to understand. It is acknowledged that accessible websites perform significantly better for all users and accessibility is a fundamental test in Socitm’s annual “Better Connected” report of council websites.
To achieve this accreditation, the Council’s website (not including online forms) has undergone automated checking of code and comprehensive user testing by the Digital Accessibility Centre team. The team includes individuals who are blind, have low vision, are dyslexic, colour blind, mobility impaired, have a learning difficulty and also deaf.
Granting the gold standard certificate, Gavin Evans, Director of Operations at DAC said: “I can honestly say that Highland Council’s site is most likely one of the more accessible council sites and that Highland Council is actually making the website inclusive to the majority of users regardless of ability!”
Cllr Bill Fernie, Chair of Highland Council’s Resources Committee said: “This has only been possible with the support of our website provider Jadu who assist the council’s Digital Services Team. I would like to commend both the staff at Jadu and our own Digital Services Team for their hard work and commitment in making Highland Council’s website one of the most accessible in the UK. No-one should be hindered from contacting or finding out information about their local authority because of their ability and I am very pleased that we are leading the way in Highland and removing barriers.”
Suraj Kika, Chief Executive Officer of Jadu added: "We're delighted that the Highland Council website has been recognised as a top UK Local Authority for website accessibility by the DAC. Accessibility is the highest priority for Jadu and I know that was one of the many things we had in common with the Digital Team at Highland when the project first started and we are very proud of what the council has achieved."