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Summary of the online accessibility policy for www.dft.gov.uk

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The Department for Transport (DfT) endeavours to develop and maintain accessible and usable online content. This will ensure that:

  • online content is as inclusive and usable as possible
  • legal requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995/2005) are met

Policy intention

This policy identifies clear accessibility principles that content on the DfT corporate website (www.dft.gov.uk) should follow.

Policy timetable

The DfT website contains a large volume of online content. This online content is being systematically audited for relevance to current DfT outcomes and for compliance with online accessibility standards. A multi-faceted timetable for improving the accessibility of new, existing and legacy online content has been adopted:

  • all new online content will comply with online accessibility standards
  • all reasonable efforts will be taken to ensure that existing online content complies with online accessibility standards - priority will be given to improving key documents and popular (highly visited) sections of the DfT website
  • unless specifically requested by visitors to the DfT website, only minimal efforts will be taken to ensure that 'archived' legacy online content complies with online accessibility standards

Online content formats

Online content will primarily be published on the DfT website as extensible hypertext markup language (XHTML) files that use cascading style sheets (CSS).

Exceptions

The DfT website has some online content that can not be provided in XHTML. Where non-XHTML formats are used:

  • files will be created in accordance with the accessible authoring techniques available for these formats
  • all reasonable efforts will be taken to provide alternative accessible versions
  • contact details will be provided for the supply of alternative non-web formats

Situations where online content may be provided in non-XHTML formats include:

  • content with technical restrictions or legal requirements
  • content with specific requirements for specific audiences
  • user-generated (third-party) content
  • time-critical content
  • archived legacy content
  • online versions of hardcopy publications
  • content in online databases and applications

Conformance with web and online accessibility standards

Online content on the DfT website will confirm to world best practice web and accessibility standards and guidelines published by the:

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
  • United Kingdom Government Central Office of Information (COI)
  • creators of propriety software (e.g. Adobe, Microsoft etc)

In particular, DfT will continuously take all reasonable steps to ensure that its online content complies with:

Checking conformance with web and online accessibility standards

Conformance checking against W3C/WAI and COI guidelines and specifications will be regularly carried out by DfT. The technical and usable accessibility of online content on the DfT website will be checked using:

  • automated testing and validation
  • manual checks
  • assistive technology tool testing
  • user testing with people from a range of disabilities, preferences and ages
  • expert reviews and conformance inspections of representative samples of web pages

Accessibility testing timetable

DfT will use a combination of various testing techniques to test for accessibility compliance. In particular, testing will be carried out at four key stages throughout the website's design lifecycle:

  • requirements gathering
  • design
  • build
  • maintenance

Accessibility user testing profiles

Disabilities to be considered during the development and redevelopment of content on the DfT website may include a mixture of mild, moderate and severe:

  • vision impairment
  • mobility problems
  • cognitive and learning problems
  • hearing loss

Consideration will also be given to other users who will benefit from improved online accessibility, including:

  • people with slow internet connections
  • people with low bandwidth quotas
  • people using hand-held mobile internet-enabled devices
  • people with English as a second language
  • people from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds
  • people from different generations

Accessibility user testing techniques and technologies

A combination of techniques and adaptive technologies that disabled users may employ will be tested, including:

  • screen reader and text-to-speech software
  • keyboard only operation
  • adaptive hardware and input devices
  • changing text size and formatting

Accessibility across different operating systems, internet-enabled hardware and web browsers will also be tested.

Accessibility user testing tasks

Accessibility user testing will involve completing core tasks that users should be able to achieve on the DfT website. The criteria for determining the success of accessibility user testing of the DfT website include:

  • effectiveness
  • efficiency
  • satisfaction

Contacts

For further information about the DfT online accessibility policy please contact:

Web Team Manager
Department for Transport
Communication Directorate
Floor 5, Zone 5/01, Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR, UK
phone 020 7944 4721, fax 020 7944 9643
webmasterdft@dft.gsi.gov.uk