Local government focuses on everyone's right to information
The City of Trollhättan, Sweden, has had accessibility on the agenda for many years, but with the EU Web Accessibility Directive, the work has been intensified. With an Episerver website that Funka has developed and maintains, there is a good foundation for the work.
This is how Katarina Loodh, Web Communicator at the City of Trollhättan, describes the work:
For the past seven years, we have worked with our new website together with Funka. The website is our most important platform and accessibility has always been in focus. Even though we work and communicate on social media, the website is the foundation. Everyone should be confident that what is published there is correct. For us, accessibility has been of the utmost importance. We view the legislation positively, as accessibility should be a matter of course. Today, the website is technically sound because it is built with accessibility in mind from the start, and we work daily to ensure the accessibility of the content creation.
The local government website of Trollhättan is based on the content structure that Funka has developed together with about 50 municipalities in our popular Municipal Network. The scheme, which is named after a fictional municipality called Funkaboda, is being further developed on an ongoing basis and has over the years been tested with several thousand users from all over the country.
The cooperation and exchange of experience between participating municipalities is very much appreciated and over the years, many innovative solutions have emerged through the work in the network.
To spread accessibility in the organization, Trollhättan has superusers and committee secretaries who work with accessibility issues in the organization. The goal is that all 5000 employees should be trained to do the right thing.
We have a lot of internal discussions on how to make sure web authors keep up the level of accessibility. To increase knowledge throughout the organization, we have created routines for accessibility to become part of the everyday work. One example is that we have designed templates that are easy to use, for example in Word, to ensure accessibility is built-in from the start, instead of being added afterwards. We want to bring accessibility at all levels, in the same way as we work today with norm-critical thinking, the graphic profile and GDPR.
Funka has developed, designed and managed the website of Trollhättan since 2014. During that period, of course, a lot has happened both technically and in terms of content, while the requirements for accessibility have increased.
In the same way as with GDPR, we want everyone to think about accessibility from the start. An example is when Funka did a survey on our e-services to see how well they lived up to the accessibility requirements. Of course, some parts were difficult for us to change immediately, as external suppliers are responsible for them. But one thing we could do was look into the content parts of the e-services. We sat down and started discussing our services. At first it felt awkward, but then everything eased and we could look at the e-services with new eyes. Our IT managers were completely excited about how they could easily change the e-services to become better for everyone. This is how we try to work all the time, if we make a change for the 15% who need it, it will become better for everyone. And when you have the user in focus from the start, chances of success increase a lot.
The City of Trollhättan has approximately 60,000 inhabitants and is located in the western parts of Sweden. As a Finnish administrative area, multilingualism is a natural part of communication and the website also offers BrowseAloud for users who for various reasons have difficulties reading.