06/09/2016

Useful web accessibility resources from Government Digital Service and more

During my tenure at Home Office Digital earlier this year, I gained an insight into the variety of resources created by the Government Digital Service to allow your web service to remain accessible to users. Public bodies must maintain a very high bar with regards to the needs of their audience, and not discriminate. That said, you may be in breach of The Equality Act 2010 if your website excludes users because of their disability.

The following websites are resources I go back to time and time again to remind myself of the best practices one should take on board while creating websites, whether they are for government departments, or for small businesses.

In other words, if you want to build websites and are concerned about whether they follow best practice, what better place to start than with resources paid for with taxpayers money!

Much of these resources rely on the use of Node.js and NPM, which are gaining much traction in the creation of public websites. The creation of full stack projects using one language reduces technical debt, but as JavaScript is evolving at the same time, it gives rise to new challenges, which are being actively researched and iterated by the community at large. Which is nice.

Government Digital Service

Government Digital Service (GDS) have a mission to make digital services and information simpler, clearer and faster, putting the needs of users before government. With that in mind, here are their available tools to help you achieve this:

GDS Github

  • Gov.uk Frontend Toolkit - A collection of Sass and JavaScript files for using as part of your application's frontend.

Home Office Digital Github

Again, a very impressive resource. Although some of what they do must remain unavailable to the public, their Github repo contains a great number of tools, patterns and application shells. Worthy of note is Home Office Forms (HOF), a JS based form builder, that caters to multi-page form journeys, which was used in the production of Her Majesty's Passport Office Adult Passport Renewals Service.

Useful Web Accessibility Tools

Here's some useful tools and add ons to install in your browser to aid in accessibility testing. It won't replace actual testing sessions with users, but it will reduce the likelihood of obvious issues being encountered by such users.
This list is not exhaustive. Many of the above links are mere front pages to much greater levels of content, so make use of your bookmarks and/or favourites bar - you're going to need them!
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