Devon County Council is committed to ensuring its website is accessible to all our customers. Our website has been designed with a number of accessibility features. The key features include:
- Resizable Text and altering Site Contrast (available from all pages)
- Alternative text
- DixerIT Plus - Listen to the site being read out loud (available from all pages)
- Minimising the use of images
- Access keys
- Making content more accessible
- Plain English
- Help us to help you
- Equality Impact and Needs Assessment (EINA)
We also provide assistance in the following areas
- Guidance for new internet users and information about cookies.
- Finding information and services - Scrolling, browsing and using the keyboard or mouse.
- Using the councils search facility - Using words, phrases, speech marks, commas and text case.
- Assistance with Internet browsers/viewers, plug ins and printing pages.
- Guidance on how to view the councils webcasts.
My Web, My Way is a new website (from the BBC) which aims to help arm web audiences with the tools and understanding which will enable them to make the most of the world-wide web, whatever their ability or disability.
The site provides advice and help to all those people who would benefit from making changes to their browser, operating system, or computer to be able to view the web in a more accessible way.
The site is not only for those with disabilities (visual, hearing, motor, cognitive or learning impairments) but also, for example, for those people with minor vision impairments who would not consider themselves to have a disability.
Find out more on My Web My Way
We aim to provide the most accessible site in its default format, however we understand that we may not get it right for everyone therefore we will continually offer the option to increase the font size and change the site contrast.
Images on our website have alternative text attributes, often known as alt text. This means that when an image is used on a web page to convey information its content is also described in the alt text. This means that the image can be understood by text browsers and assistive technologies such as screen readers. Where possible we will not use images for simply decorative purposes however if an image is used for this purpose, the text attribute for the image is left empty in line with accepted best practice.
We have enabled our site to be read out loud using a facility called DixerIT Plus- You will not need to download anything to your PC - When selected (The 'Listen to this page' option in the left hand menu bar at the side of the webpage) it simply changes the site to a format it reads and providing you have headphones or speakers connected to your PC then you can listen to the pages being read out loud.
Live text is used rather than graphics wherever possible to reduce page download time and to increase your control over text size.
Access keys are a useful navigation device enabling you to get around the County Council’s main website using your keyboard. They can be used to jump to different sections of content across the main DCC website. View access keys on the DCC website.
In order to ensure a consistent user experience for visitors to the site we use what are known as cascading style sheets (CSS for short). CSS enable us to enforce a corporate look-and-feel to our website which ensures that a consistent font typeface, use of colour and optimum text sizes are presented to you.
Using cascading style sheets enables us to meet current legislative and industry standards on website accessibility
We have also provided access to watch committee meetings online via our web cast facility and have more than 2 hours of video clips about accessing our services in British Sign Language. We also have a section on accessing our services in various languages (see translation pages).
When we redesigned our website we wanted the new site to be:
- free of jargon, using simple, plain English
- easy to search, so you can search and retrieve information about Council services without having any knowledge of the Council’s structure, or what we call things
- accessible to everyone
In trying to achieve these aims we contacted the Plain English Campaign and followed its guidelines.
- to present information in a logical order and write clearly and simply using everyday words and short sentences
- keep our webpage design simple, consistent and free of moving images
However, our website is developing all the time. Please let us know if you have any comments, good or bad, about our website or suggestions about how we can improve it by contacting the webteam
We aim to meet the Priority A, AA, and selected AAA guidelines of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Our website is tested on a regular basis using a combination of automated tools to identify potential problem areas and manual testing to ensure we meet the spirit as well as the letter of the W3C's accessibility guidelines.
Inevitably, we won't always get it right, and with over 8,000 pages of content we are bound to miss some problems, but we are committed to addressing any access issues promptly. And that's where we'd like your help. If you experience any difficulties in accessing our website, or have trouble using any aspect of the website, we'd like you to let us know. Contact the webteam and let us know your experience.
We have conducted several phases of user-testing of the whole website and of new sections. We always involve disabled people with a range of impairments in this testing and we make any changes needed to make the site more accessible and easy-to-use.
The purpose of an Equality Impact and Needs Assessment (EINA) is to improve our work by making sure we don't discriminate and that, where possible, we promote equality across all services and channels.
For our website the EINA focuses on assessing, consulting on, recording and acting on the likely equality impact. It involves anticipating the consequences on different sections of the community and making sure that, as far as possible, any negative consequences are eliminated or minimised and opportunities for promoting equality are maximised. The assessment extends to monitoring the actual effects and being alert to any concerns about the way it is or is not working.
We believe in equal opportunities for all, this belief becomes a reality through our policy commitments and proactive measures to challenge inequality, recognise difference and celebrate diversity. Find out more about our commitment to Equality and Diversity.