Located on the largest seaside resort on the English Channel, Brighton & Hove City Council is the legislative body that governs the south coast city, providing a full range of local government services including council tax billing, planning applications, parking, and waste collection. To make it easier and faster for residents to access services online, the Council’s Digital First team was brought in to transform the public-facing website.
After an extensive audit of the previous website, Digital First’s ultimate goal was to build a new website that was consistent, friendly and familiar. Based on the concept of ‘patterns’ (reusable, repeatable design solutions) to increase the usability of the new website, the team needed to ensure it was accessible to all users, including those with accessibility needs who might be using the site through non-traditional means, such as screen readers.
The Digital First team faced three challenges:
1. Provide consistent user journeys across platforms. The new website was built on two opensource platforms – Drupal 8 and Mendix. A concerted effort needed to be undertaken to ensure the user’s experience remains visually and functionally consistent as they navigate between the two platforms.
2. Comply with UK accessibility regulations. Digital First needed to ensure that the website was compliant with new accessibility regulations for UK public sector websites (The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018) by the 23rd September 2019 deadline, as well as adhering to the 2010 Equality Act.
3. Document progress and pass a WCAG accessibility audit. To demonstrate that the website is compliant with UK regulations and document the steps and progress made by the Digital First team. Evidence needed to be documented via the independently reviewed and presented Soctim BetterConnected portal.
The Council has a genuine desire to build digital products that offer an accessible user experience for all and therefore wanted to collaborate with a test partner that was equally passionate about digital accessibility but could also offer consultation and testing on an agile website build. The partner needed to offer a test solution that was compliant to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and have access to a range of assistive technologies. The partner would also be able to provide guidance on good accessibility practices for content and development teams and to coordinate disabled user testing with members of the public.
Download our full case study to learn more about our on-going digital accessibility partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, including pan-disabled user testing, WCAG audits and training workshops.