Is your website accessible?

  • October 8, 2020

The EU expects all public sector websites to meet its regulations on digital accessibility. These rules aim to make web content accessible to everyone, regardless of the medium they use (e.g. desktop browser, mobile phone, etc.) or the context (e.g. hands-free, etc.).

A website must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Currently, the WCAG 2.1 Level AA standard is the EU’s benchmark for websites and mobile applications.

For instance, content should be customisable so it can be displayed in alternative ways without information being lost. This is why images online should also have alt text to describe the content when a user cannot view it.

Better, faster, stronger

The biggest advantage of an accessible website is that you can reach more people in a fair and inclusive way. The benefits do not stop there though:

1. Easier to find in search engines

Approximately 94 % of Belgians use Google. The search engine is the most visited website worldwide, so it should come as no surprise that 80 % of new visitors to your site find it with Google. By making your website accessible, the information is better organised and Google can index it more easily.

2. Responsiveness

In general, half of website traffic is via mobile devices. It is essential that your website is responsive and adapted for small screens. Make sure you do not miss out on mobile traffic!

3. Faster

Your website will load faster. This is important because visitors will not hang around until your website has been fully loaded. Google prefers fast load times as well. Slow websites are penalised with a low quality score on search engines, and they appear lower down in the search results.

Help is at hand!

Our Paddle content management system (CMS) is fully accessible according to WCAG 2.0 guidelines. We are a partner of SiteImprove and continuously scan our CMS to retain our WCAG A label. Technically, all websites built with the Paddle CMS are therefore accessible.

My colleagues and I are happy to help update and manage your online content. Get in touch for more information.

Shana

Shana Mabilde, Helpdesk agent and DPO
Beyond being a web architect and helpdesk manager, Shana is also our data protection officer, making sure data at ESN is well protected!