Strathcona County website gets full web accessibility audit
Strathcona County, located in Alberta, Canada, was already committed to regular web accessibility checks, but with a newly launched website, the organization was interested in a thorough website review to ensure it conformed to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
After attending a Mugo Web and eZ Systems web accessibility webinar, the County called on Mugo to conduct a full web accessibility audit.
The Problem -- Mobile menu, alt tags, and functional elements
While Strathcona County’s new site was fairly well laid out for accessibility, a few key components proved problematic.
First, its mobile menu was not at all accessible, preventing people with disabilities from accessing the site via mobile device.
Secondly, the site was also using image alt tags inconsistently. Alt tags are a critical element of web accessibility for people with visual impairments.
Finally, many of the site’s buttons and links had been implemented using non-traditional coding methods. But screen readers couldn’t recognize them, preventing users with disabilities from accessing key functions via screen reader.
The Solution -- A comprehensive web accessibility report with detailed solutions
Mugo’s web accessibility expert Dave Fearnley conducted the web accessibility audit for Strathcona and produced a comprehensive accessibility audit report detailing recommendations on how to address the issues that were identified.
For example, regarding the structural issue with Strathcona’s functional elements, such as buttons and links, Fearnley says, “we identified the problem areas and demonstrated how to change the source code as opposed to changing the content.”
Fearnley’s report also provided details on how to make the mobile menu accessible. “You need to be able to tab through every item on the menu, Fearnley says. “All the functions that you can do with a mouse have to be possible with the keyboard as well, as that is how many people with accessibility issues will experience the site.”
Finally, the report covered alt tag accessibility, which was inconsistent on the Strathcona County website. “Sometimes they were missing, sometimes they were there, sometimes they were incorrect,” Fearnley says.
The Result -- Transparency during implementation
Strathcona County began implementing changes to its site immediately after reviewing the report. And they’ve been entirely transparent about it with their audience. “They’ve posted a public version of the report to ensure transparency with the process,” Fearnley says. “Communicating that you’re trying to improve accessibility is really important because it’s very difficult to say that you’re finished and that your site is completely accessible. Communicating how you’re trying to address guidelines is so important for someone who is having difficulty with the site.”