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Built on Spanglefish 3

Spanglefish 3 Manual

About Accessibility

This site has an accessibility statement here if that's what you are looking for.

However this page is about website accessibility in general and more specifically about how the Spanglefish 3 system handles accessibility and what owners of Spanglefish 3 websites need to do to keep their sites accessible.

What is meant by website accessibility?

No matter how fabulous or homespun your website looks, for 90% of sites the most important purpose is to provide information to the user. Your human users are likely to come in every possible variety including people with disabilities. The purpose of ensuring your website is accessible is to be as certain as possible that everyone has access to the information on your site no matter what their disability.

In years gone past this might have meant adding buttons to your site allowing users to increase the font size or change the colour scheme, but that is no longer the case.

Nowadays users have tools to help them navigate the web, some standalone and some built into the browsers they use. Such a tool might be a screen reader which reads the text on a web page out loud for a blind person, or the ability to use the tab key to navigate around links on the page.

The job of people like us (who create the systems websites are built on) is not to do or use anything which prevents these tools from working. We've built Spanglefish 3 with this in mind - but we're always open to suggestions for improvements.

Your responsibilities as a Spanglefish 3 site owner.

Spanglefish 3 is a very powerful system which allows you to manage a wide variety of things on your site. But because of this power, you can easily do things which would make your site less accessible. So for example if you set the text colour to a light grey on a white background, the odds are that for some people that text is going to become hard or impossible to read.

There are a multitude of things you could do wrong which will impact on the accessibility of your site, but here are a few of the main ones to avoid.

  • Make sure text is clearly legible against its background. You can check the contrast of colour combinations using this tool.
  • If you add images in the editor on a page, ensure you add Alt text to the image to explain what the image shows.
  • Use PDF documents where possible rather than uploading Word documents or other proprietary formats. Check your PDFs are accessible with this tool.
  • Don't use the words 'click here' as a link. Instead make the links explain what they link to, as I've tried to do in the lines above.
  • Start each page with a Header 1 tag, and try to preserve the hierarchy of headers. So for instance, you can't use a Header 3 tag unless you have a Header 2 tag somewhere on the page before it.
  • Try to avoid using underlines in text to emphasise it - use bold or italic styling instead. Underlines make text more difficult to read, but also (by convention) signify links, so using them on normal text can be confusing.

Checking your Website's Accessibility

There are lots of tools on the web which will check your site and give you a report. You should try them every so often. One good one is the WebAim WAVE Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool. Don't take everything it says literally though - use it as a guide to point you in the right direction.

If you are a UK parish or community council you may wish to consult the UK government accessibility checklist.

Skip to Main Content Link

All Spanglefish 3 sites incorporate a link at the head of the document to allow users of screen readers or people who navigate the site using their keyboards to skip past all the links in the menu directly to the main content of the page. To test it here, visit another page on the site then press the Tab key on your keyboard. You should see a 'Skip to Main Content' link appear at the top-centre of the page. Pressing Enter on your keyboard will then move you past the menu.

Useful Articles

This blog by a blind person explains some of the biggest problems which poor website design can cause people with sight problems.

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