Why accessibility is important to us
At the Arts Council we believe that art is universal in its appeal, and it should be made available to and enjoyed by, everyone, everywhere. That’s why we’ve worked hard to ensure that our website is accessible to people with disabilities. This in turn helps to create a more user friendly experience for all visitors to our site.
What we’ve done to help accessibility
In order to reach a high level of accessibility, we’ve worked hard with our partners Abilitynet to follow the international accessibility guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C WCAG 2). In addition, and in recognition of the fact that following the guidelines is just one part of measuring accessibility, we’ve also planned to work with real users to find out how people will be using our website, and what else we can do to make it easier to use. This is a high priority for us and it will remain an essential part of our website and digital strategy.
The key areas we’ve improved on our site to meet the guidelines include
Keyboard accessibility: Any user who has difficulty using their mouse may find it easier to navigate the web using their keyboard. We’ve made sure that all functionality is accessible from the keyboard.
Screenreader accessibility: Users with little to no useful vision often use software called a screenreader. This reads out onscreen content using synthetic speech, and allows people with little to no useful vision access to website providing they are marked up appropriately. We’ve made sure that input fields in forms are all labeled properly, and user interface elements like tabs, are designed to be accessible for screenreader users.
Flexible layout: We have designed our website to be responsive, so that it works equally on computers, phones, and tablets. This also allows the site to scale easily as you zoom in, making it more usable.
In addition, we strive to make the website more usable for everyone by:
- Making good use of headings, and white space, to make content easier to read
- Having a consistent navigation structure, so it is easy to tell where you are, and how to get elsewhere
- Using colours that provide good contrast; particularly important as we recognise that you may be reading our website on your phone and outside in the open
How to adjust your computer to make websites easier to see and use
There are some changes you can make to your computer to make any website, including ours, easier to see and use on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet. We have listed some useful resource below to help you do this. You can also take a look at My Computer My Way a resource developed by AbilityNet with support from Microsoft and the BBC as a source of accessibility help for all computer users. This unique resource explains all the accessibility features available in popular desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, including Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. All of these devices have features that enable people to adapt their computer to suit their needs, such as changing the colours and text size or using voice activation. Take a look at My Computer My Way to find out more about what features you could be using.
If you have dyslexia, or difficulty reading content:
You may find that changing the colours on screen, using larger text, or using a different font, will be helpful.
The following links describe some ways you can adjust your device:
If you have a vision impairment:
You may find content difficult or impossible to read onscreen.
A free option, which is built into the majority of devices, is the ability to zoom in on content. On a computer, this can be done in your web browser by holding down the control key (ctrl), and then using the mouse wheel to zoom in and zoom out. Keyboard users can do the same by using ctrl and + to zoom in, and ctrl and – to zoom out.
Further reading that may be useful:
Working with disabled user groups to improve the accessibility of our website
We are working with our partners AbilityNet, a UK charity specialising in digital accessibility and helping people with disabilities, to engage with the disabled community to further improve our website. So far we have completed testing of our new website to help us follow the W3C WCAG guidelines. In the near future we will begin actively testing our website by working with disabled user groups to get direct feedback on any usability and accessibility issues affecting our website, and find out users make use of our website. Both of these approaches will mean we really make the site as usable and accessible as possible later this year and improve the overall experience for all of our users.
We recognise that websites change over time; they evolve as content is added, behaviour changes, and features are added and removed. We know that it is important to ensure accessibility is considered throughout this process. We will do everything we can to make our website more usable and accessible for everyone and will carry out regular reviews working with disabled and access user groups. We are also currently reviewing our sister websites for Arts Jobs & News, Grantium and our virtual press office.
We would love to have your feedback so that we can continue to improve our website, and help with any difficulties you may encounter. If you have any feedback or are finding difficulties using our website please contact us by email, phone or our contact form.