Technical accessibility standards
We are committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
Key technical accessibility standards we use include:
- WCAG 2.1 https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/ Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- ARIA 1.1 https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-1.1/ Accessible Rich Internet applications
- ATAG 2.0 https://www.w3.org/TR/ATAG20/ Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines
- HTML5 https://html.spec.whatwg.org/ Hypertext Markup Language
We test for accessibility compliance and usability using a mixture of approaches:
- automated accessibility testing
- manual accessibility testing
- assistive technology testing
Expert evaluation and user testing is also done as part of accessibility auditing activities.
Automated accessibility Testing
We use automated accessibility tools such as Axe-core and Wave. Developers and testers are responsible for testing with automated accessibility tools locally and on test environments. This makes sure:
- All code and content passes automated accessibility tests.
- Persistent errors are raised and addressed in JIRA and added to development sprints
- Automated testing is conducted in all responsive states i.e. mobile/tablet/desktop.
Axe-core is integrated into the test automation process and automated accessibility tests are run during each development sprint by the Test Automation Lead.
Siteimprove is used to monitor each individual force website. As well as code quality, search engine optimisation and performance etc it monitors accessibility status.
Accessibility tools include:
Contrast Checker https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/
Automated testing on its own is not sufficient to claim WCAG 2.1 AA compliance. It is always used in conjunction with manual testing techniques.
Manual Accessibility Checklist
Manual testing is needed in conjunction with automated techniques in order to claim WCAG 2.1 AA compliance.
Expert review by a dedicated Accessibility Consultant is done as part of compliance auditing and sprint review for any new templates or functionality. This includes:
- reviewing designs to make sure they don't present any possible accessibility issues
- performing reviews of new HTML/CSS/JS code at key stages during development
- using assistive technologies to test accessibility before deployment to the live site
In addition to this, non-specialist manual accessibility testing is also done by most team members as part of the standard quality assurance stage before deployment.
The following resources provide checklists that can be used to test for accessibility issues:
Use in browser tools and extensions to help test for accessibility e.g.:
- Firefox accessibility features
- Firefox accessibility Inspector
- Chrome dev tools accessibility reference
- Internet Explorer access options
- Apple accessibility support
Assistive Technologies and Adaptations
As well as conforming to technical accessibility standards and automated testing this site web content is tested with assistive technology and display/device adaptations. The site components will always be tested with:
- Device adaptations – system settings and browser options allow users to adapt their display to change e.g. colour contrast, brightness, and inverted colours.
- Screen readers – reads out content and allows users to navigate in custom ways e.g. by headings, links or form menus.
- Screen magnification – allows users to control the size of text and or graphics.
- Text readers – used by people with various forms of learning disabilities that affect their ability to read text.
- Speech input software – with voice control users can give commands to perform mouse actions and type out words and text.
- Alternative input devices – some users may not be able to use a mouse or keyboard but they can use various forms of devices, such as:
- Head pointers – mounted directly on the user’s head that can be used to push keys on the keyboard.
- Motion tracking or eye tracking – this can include devices that watch the eyes of the user to interpret where the user wants to place the mouse pointer and moves it for the user.
- Single switch entry devices – these kinds of devices can be used with other alternative input devices or by themselves. These are typically used with on- screen keyboards.
As a minimum the Government Digital Service recommendations for testing with assistive technologies are followed. Current common assistive technologies and display adaptations include:
- (JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, TalkBack) screen readers
- (Dragon naturally speaking) speech recognition
- (ZoomText) screen magnification
- Physical or onscreen Keyboard
- Inverted system colours
- System/browser high contrast
- System/browser zoom
- System/browser font size adaptation
- Custom CSS stylesheets
More Information on display adjustments can be found on the AbilityNet - My Computer My Way website.