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What, why, and how?

The painting titled Saint Nicholas Providing Dowries by Bicci di Lorenzo depicting what looks like Saint Nicholas trying to access a building through a window (he is in fact shown throwing three balls of gold through a window, providing the dowry of three poverty-stricken maidens).
Saint Nicholas Providing Dowries – Bicci di Lorenzo (Italian, Florence 1373–1452 Florence). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (www.metmuseum.org). Gift of Coudert Brothers, 1888.

What is accessibility?

When discussing accessibility on the web we’re talking about delivering web content to people in a way that is inclusive and accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities.

When designing and building websites it’s important to consider the range of audiences that could come into contact with our work. There are decisions throughout the process of producing websites, as well as the content they deliver, that can have a huge impact on how accessible the end product is.

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Why is it so important?

Accessibility is about meeting the needs and expectations of users. Efforts in improving accessibility have a positive impact on the lives of real people, and the experience of the user is central to our work at Cogapp.

Accessibility is a key consideration at Cogapp, it is strongly connected to our mission and is crucial in Building a Better Online World; we have a social, ethical, and legal responsibility to ensure we don't exclude people with disabilities in achieving this goal.

How do we approach it?

Accessibility is considered throughout our process. It is front of mind throughout our user experience, design, and our technical work. Delivering an accessible website requires planning and careful consideration, it isn't something that can be added with a widget or fixed with AI.

Below is a brief summary of specific working practices that we undertake to ensure our work meets the needs of our clients and their audiences.

  • By default, whether our clients ask us to or not, we aim to meet a base level of accessibility as defined by the WCAG 2.1. This is usually "AA", and in some cases it is higher.
  • We have an accessibility champion and an accessibility working group that meets regularly to ensure that we keep on top of industry best practice
  • We have a dedicated Slack channel for discussing issues surrounding accessibility and asking questions
  • Each website we deliver is accessibility tested using automated testing
  • Each website we deliver is tested manually by our dedicated QA Lead using checklists to provide a structured assessment of accessibility performance
  • We design and implement our work in an accessible way from the outset. e.g. using semantic markup, ensuring a logical tab order, and providing text alternatives for images.
  • We provide documentation regarding best practices for content editors e.g. writing appropriate alt text for images
  • We proactively schedule accessibility reviews as part of maintenance agreements with clients

Further reading

How to choose a web accessible typeface