An accessible website ensures the same level of access to information for everyone. So there are no barriers to information and services. Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. Conversely, an inaccessible website is when all the content on a page cannot be accessed by someone with a disability. Unfortunately, many websites are not accessible.
There are many possible factors for why a website may not be accessible. For example, accessibility wasn’t considered during development, or certain components were missed. Or the website isn’t regularly reviewed and tested and is compliant with older accessibility standards. In this blog, we’ll be covering how to build an accessible website and why accessibility needs to be on your radar.
Why is an accessible website important?
24% of New Zealanders are living with a disability according to the 2013 disability survey. That’s 1.1 million people who will likely encounter barriers while on an inaccessible website.
In 2023, WebAIM recorded their fifth annual report on the accessibility of the top 1,000,000 home pages. According to their findings, there were on average, 50 accessibility errors per homepage. However, they did find small decreases in the number of detected accessibility errors.
Web accessibility benefits everyone
Web accessibility isn’t just for people living with a disability. There are a range of situations where web accessibility is important. Firstly, if someone only has access to a phone and needs to access a website that is only built for computers, it’s a lot harder to navigate the site. Secondly, if someone has injured their arm, can’t play sound, or it’s too bright for them to see the screen – having an accessible website improves the overall user experience. Additionally, only having access to a slow internet connection can mean you don’t get access to vital information due to slow page loading times.
As per New Zealand’s Web Accessibility Laws, all government websites must meet the NZ Government Web Usability Standard 1.3. To support meeting the standards, there is a list of government approved supplier DIA accessibility providers.
Web accessibility doesn’t have to be hard. There are options to take to make your website more accessible. Either, reviewing the current content, developing a plan and addressing those concerns, and putting regular testing in place. Or you could try switching to a Content Management System (CMS), designed with accessibility in mind, such as Silverstripe CMS.
Catalyst Starter – a CMS solution built with accessibility in mind
Catalyst Starter is one of the CMSs built with accessibility in mind. Additionally, it works within the Silverstripe CMS and is designed, tested, and compliant with AA WCAG guidelines. Plus, it has a full automation test suite for rapid regression tests.
Catalyst Starter provides:
- A pre-built theme in Silverstripe – supplying page layouts, colour palettes, headers, footers, typography, and more are already built for you.
- A common set of accessibility-tested page template components, including commonly requested website features that can be added to pages. Such as accordions, cards, tabs, forms, call to actions, columns, and carousels.
- The ability to be personalised to your needs, or built upon if you have bespoke requirements.
Ultimately, you don’t have to jeopardise the look and feel of your website for accessibility. To see how Catalyst Starter can look, check out our demo video.
Start your accessibility journey today
Catalyst specialises in supporting government agencies in meeting their MSD Accessibility Charter requirements. We are one of only a few New Zealand-based companies accredited in the DIA marketplace for Web Accessibility services. Our team of experts offers accessibility services including audits, training, consulting, and support to help you achieve your accessibility goals.
Contact us today, to discuss how you can use Catalyst Starter, the Silverstripe CMS theme to build an accessible website.