Monyash Parish Council and Monyash Village Website
Government regulations mandate that public bodies’ websites are accessible. The Parish Council is of course covered by this and we believe the whole village website should follow suit to make it more inclusive. There is an international standard called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) which public bodies are expected to meet.
The old village website did not meet WCAG 2.1. The obvious shortcoming was with colour contrast between foreground text and its background, particularly in the menu bar(s). But there were other issues to do with hidden links and navigation around a page which also needed to be resolved.
The new website was built over 2020 and 2021 using WordPress. We had been considering for some time how we might update the old website’s technology and we settled on using WordPress. WordPress has been around since 2003 and, according to some estimates, powers 35% of the Internet. We found a theme that has a simple, clean “look and feel” and gives us a very flexible menu structure. It also satisfies the navigation requirements of WCAG 2.1 and allows us to change colours readily to give the colour contrast we will need.
We used Microsoft’s Accessibility Insights to test the new website against WCAG 2.1. They have a variety of tools including plug-ins for a number of web browsers. We made a number of minor changes as a result of the test outcomes.
There is, however, one minor item we were unable to correct. Using the tab key to navigate a page does not open up submenus, but pressing the <Enter> key when the focus is on the “+” symbol next to a top-level menu item will do so. Given that the menu structure is simple and that we have a search feature that can be reached from the top of every page, we have decided that the cost of resolving this submenu issue would be excessive for a small community website maintained on a volunteer basis.
For those readers who wish to know more about the guidelines and regulations, here are some resources:
- You can download the Guidance from the National Association of Local Councils here
- The Government’s guidance is at this website
- The full version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 is at this page on the World Wide Web Consortium’s website
- You can find WCAG 2.1 “at a glance” at this webpage
- Accessibility Insights information and tools can be found here.