HTML version of our quick guide to web accessibility, helping you meet the Accessible Information Standard including practical advice, case studies and a glossary.
1. Introduction – Make digital health accessible to all
PIF’s Health and Digital Literacy Survey report, published in October 2020, made 10 recommendations to help overcome the health and digital literacy challenges faced by the UK population.
A central recommendation was to ensure health websites meet WCAG 2.1 global accessibility guidelines from the World Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
In summary this means organisations producing health information should:
- Ensure every element of the website is easy to find.
- Ensure the website is fully operable.
- Ensure the content of the website is easy to understand.
- Ensure the website is robust – can be accessed from different devices and browsers.
- Ensure digital content is accessible to all your audiences – including people with low digital skills, dyslexia, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language.
- Learn best practice from other organisations across various industries.
For public sector bodies meeting the Accessible Information Standard is a requirement, for all others it is good practice. Accessibility is also built into PIF’s criteria for the PIF TICK quality mark for trusted health information.
The rapid switch to digital health information during the pandemic has made the need to improve the accessibility of websites more pressing. PIF members asked for a simple guide to accessibility at the Health Information Challenges and Solutions Workshop held in March 2021.
PIF’s long standing partner, Texthelp, is an accessibility specialist. The team helped us produce this guide, which has been reviewed by our Advisory Group.
Most of the advice is drawn from the World Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Their website is full of helpful advice and guidance if you want more detail. This quick guide covers the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
As with all things digital, development is rapid. WCAG 3 is on the way. It will include new guidance for people with cognitive impairments, a new rating system and will cover a wider range of digital tools. PIF will keep members up to date with new developments.
We have also included some brief case studies which demonstrate how making accessibility improvements can have huge benefits for all users and improve Google rankings.