Independent audit is of great importance, according to Västervik municipality
Before the Web Accessibility Directive enters into effect this autumn, it is a good idea to find out how accessible your websites, intranets, and documents are, in order to make improvements.
At the moment we are conducting more accessibility audits than usual, which of course has to do with legislation. With an audit, the client not only gets knowledge about the accessibility status but also suggestions for solutions. Västervik municipality recently allowed Funka to do a WCAG audit of its website, vastervik.se.
We have great confidence in Funka regarding accessibility issues so it felt natural to let them test vastervik.se. We have previously done a similar audit and we are very pleased with the report we received, says Phia Bergdahl, Communications Officer at Västervik Municipality.
When examining digital interfaces, our experts goes through each requirement in the chosen standard, in this case WCAG 2.0 AA, and manually review them with different tools and, where appropriate, assistive technology. All results are then quality controlled by another consultant to ensure that the assessments are correct.
The most important thing in my job is to interpret the guidelines correctly and to assess how serious a problem is and to what extent it is a discrepancy, says Sandra Eriksson, accessibility expert at Funka.
The audit report that the client receives includes a checklist with approved or not approved plus links and examples of where we found shortcomings, but also comments, illustrations, screen shots and examples on code level. The report clearly describes how objects and features can pose accessibility problems for users, and for which user groups.
We got a clear report with the parts that need improvement on vastervik.se. We could fix some of the items by ourselves, and delegated others to our web supplier. Together with the supplier, we reviewed the report and made an action list, the report was a perfect basis for that order. Many of the errors Funka found were of such nature that we had not been able to discover them by ourselves, says Phia Bergdahl.
To hire an independent expert organisation to check other suppliers is important to ensure quality and consistency. Everyone cannot be specialists on everything, just as most people use a special technical development agency and another for design, a third for SEO and a fourth for IT security, it's a good idea to hire expertise to ensure that the requirements for accessibility are met.
The most rewarding part of the audit work is the delivery meeting. We go through the requirements in the audit with the client and explain the details of the report. The client is given the opportunity to ask questions and it becomes clear how insufficient accessibility affects users and what it can lead to. Often a delivery meeting ends with a discussion about how we can take the next step together with the client and its supplier, which is rewarding both to the customer and to me as a consultant, says Sandra Eriksson.