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What the posters say
Designing for users on the autistic spectrum
- use simple colours
- write in plain English
- use simple sentences and bullets
- make buttons descriptive – for example, Attach files
- build simple and consistent layouts
- use bright contrasting colours
- use figures of speech and idioms
- create a wall of text
- make buttons vague and unpredictable – for example, Click here
- build complex and cluttered layouts
Designing for users of screen readers
- describe images and provide transcripts for video
- follow a linear, logical layout
- structure content using HTML5
- build for keyboard use only
- write descriptive links and heading – for example, Contact us
- only show information in an image or video
- spread content all over a page
- rely on text size and placement for structure
- force mouse or screen use
- write uninformative links and heading – for example, Click here
Designing for users with low vision
- use good contrasts and a readable font size
- publish all information on web pages (HTML)
- use a combination of colour, shapes and text
- follow a linear, logical layout -and ensure text flows and is visible when text is magnified to 200%
- put buttons and notifications in context
- use low colour contrasts and small font size
- bury information in downloads
- only use colour to convey meaning
- spread content all over a page -and force user to scroll horizontally when text is magnified to 200%
- separate actions from their context
Designing for users with physical or motor disabilities
- make large clickable actions
- give form fields space
- design for keyboard or speech only use
- design with mobile and touch screen in mind
- provide shortcuts
- demand precision
- bunch interactions together
- make dynamic content that requires a lot of mouse movement
- have short time out windows
- tire users with lots of typing and scrolling
Designing for users who are D/deaf or hard of hearing
- write in plain English
- use subtitles or provide transcripts for video
- use a linear, logical layout
- break up content with sub-headings, images and videos
- let users ask for their preferred communication support when booking appointments
- use complicated words or figures of speech
- put content in audio or video only
- make complex layouts and menus
- make users read long blocks of content
- don’t make telephone the only means of contact for users
Designing for users with dyslexia
- use images and diagrams to support text
- align text to the left and keep a consistent layout
- consider producing materials in other formats (for example, audio and video)
- keep content short, clear and simple
- let users change the contrast between background and text
- use large blocks of heavy text
- underline words, use italics or write capitals
- force users to remember things from previous pages – give reminders and prompts
- rely on accurate spelling – use autocorrect or provide suggestions
- put too much information in one place
Information to be published annually
The deadline for publishing the following information is 1 July 2019 (for information relating to the tax year 2018/2019).
- All items of expenditure above £100
- End of year accounts
- Annual governance statement
- Internal audit report
- List of Councillor or member responsibilities
- The details of public land and building assets
Information to be published more frequently than annually
- Draft minutes from all formal meetings (i.e. full council or board, committee and sub-committee meetings) not later than one month after the meeting has taken place. These minutes should be signed either at the meeting they were taken or at the next meeting
- Smaller authorities should also publish meeting agendas, which are as full and informative as possible, and associated meeting papers not later than three clear days before the meeting to which they relate is taking place
The data and information must be published on a website which is publicly accessible and free of charge.
From 23 September 2020, all local council websites must be made accessible, unless the council can demonstrate that doing so would impose a disproportionate burden.
We believe that a lot of smaller parish and community councils would have grounds to apply for exemption for historical information on their websites – often local councils have minutes and agendas going back several years and it could be argued that converting all of these to accessible formats presents a disproportionate burden. However, if users need information to complete a task or access a service, even if it was published before 23 September 2018, you will need to provide it in an accessible format.
However, going forward local councils have no excuses not to present their documents and web pages in a way that is accessible to all. You can see the types of disabilities that should be considered when thinking about accessibility here Website Accessibility Dos and Don’t s – a pictorial guide.
To apply for exemption, a council must perform a disproportionate burden assessment. This should include
- The size, resources and nature of the council
- The estimated costs and benefits for the council in relation to the estimated benefits for persons with disabilities, taking into account the frequency and duration of use of the specific website
If the council determines that compliance would impose a disproportionate burden they must publish an accessibility statement. This must be in an accessible format and published on their website.
It must include the following:
- An explanation of the parts of the content that are not accessible and reasons why
- Where appropriate, a description of any accessible alternatives provided
- A link to your contact form so that the user can request details of the information excluded or notify the council of any failure to comply
- A link to the enforcement procedure that the user can access in the event of an unsatisfactory response to the notification or the request.
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:
- perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web
- contribute to the Web
As a local town, parish or community council, it is especially important that your website does not discriminate against users with disabilities. From 23 September 2020 (for existing websites) or 23 September 2019 (for new websites) there is a legal requirement for all public sector bodies to comply with the accessibility requirement, unless doing so would impose a disproportionate burden. You can read about applying for exemption here: Website accessibility regulations – applying for exemption
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, for example:
- people using mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.
- older people with changing abilities due to ageing
- people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm or lost glasses
- people with “situational limitations” such as in bright sunlight or in an environment where they cannot listen to audio
- people using a slow Internet connection, or who have limited or expensive bandwidth
We’ll be publishing a series of articles about how to make your website accessible, so watch this space.
We often get asked the question: should the clerk or Councillors be using their personal email accounts for council business?
While this wasn’t a problem in the past, the new GDPR regulations mean that it isn’t advisable. There are 2 main reasons for this – under GDPR, people have:
- The right to access all information that you hold about them
- The right to be forgotten (ie have all information you hold about them erased)
Fulfilling both of these obligations can be difficult when the clerk or Councillors may have information buried within their personal communications. Also, if the clerk or a Councillor has left the council it will be difficult and time-consuming to retrieve or delete all the information shared as part of council business.
There are 2 ways of solving this problem:
- Get your Councillors to set up dedicated council email accounts using a free online email such as hotmail. When a Councillor leaves the council, they can simply delete the account and all the content.
- Set up POP or IMAP accounts for your Councillors. Your web hosting company will be able to do this for you, but there will most likely be a charge.
We will be going into more detail about different types of email accounts later.
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GDPR states that you need to inform users about what information you are collecting about them, how long you intend to store it and what you intend to use it for at the point of collecting the information.
If you want to be extra careful, you can have a check box on your form that users must check to confirm that they have read and accept your privacy statement. It is possible to add one of these check boxes that will not allow the user to submit the form until the box has been checked.