ASPIRE list

ASPIRE public sector guidelines

Facing the FACTS with your accessibility statement

The FACTS model is based on 5 characteristics of a good accessibility statement:

  • Formative: it makes users smarter at exploiting accessible content.

  • Actionable: it makes users resilient, helping them deal with inaccessible content.

  • Compliant: it keeps the organisation safe by covering the legal requirements.

  • Transparent: it keeps disabled users on board by being honest and accountable.

  • Supportive: it makes users confident by clarifying support options.

The Government Digital Services template helps you be compliant - and compliance is at the centre of the FACTS model. But compliance alone does not lead to culture change.

ASPIRE, working with our friends at McNaught Consultancy and AllAble, has developed a consultancy service (i) supporting organisations to write quality accessibility statements and (ii) objectively accrediting existing statements. This service builds on the ASPIRE process as used by international suppliers such as VitalSource, EBSCO, ProQuest, Cambridge University Press and others. Any ASPIREscore an organisation achieves is displayed on the publicly available ASPIRE public sector list of Public Sector Body accessibility statements, allowing comparison of accessibility information across the sector.

This resource – extracted from our independent scoring system - is available on Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-NC). Please feel free to use it as a handy checklist to see how you’re doing. A version of these guidelines is available at the link below for download.

LEVEL 1: COMMUNICATION COMPLIANCE

Level 1: Communication Compliance assesses the quality of the information provided within the accessibility statement including contact information, responsiveness, testing, and feedback channels.

1. Scope (FACTS model: Compliance)

Does the statement specify which website the accessibility statement is applicable to?

2. Discoverability (FACTS model: Compliance + Transparent)

Is the accessibility statement easily discoverable on the website?   

                       

3. Preparation of the accessibility statement (FACTS model: Compliance + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement provide information about when the statement was initially prepared and when it was last reviewed and updated?

4. Testing the site (FACTS model: Compliance + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement provide information on the date and method of testing that was used to review the website?

5. Contact + Alternative Formats (FACTS model: Compliance + Supportive)

Does the accessibility statement include contact information for users who may need the content of the website in an alternative format?

6. Feedback + Complaints (FACTS model: Compliance + Supportive)

Does the accessibility statement provide contact information for users wishing to provide feedback or make a complaint about the accessibility of the website?

7. Responsiveness (FACTS model: Transparent + Supportive)

Does the accessibility statement provide information about the target response times in replying to accessibility enquiries?

8. Enforcement Procedure (FACTS model: Compliance + Supportive)

Does the accessibility statement include information about contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) or Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI)?

9. Reference to additional user-focused guidance (such as AbilityNet’s My Computer My Way or other). (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Supportive)

Is reference made within the accessibility statement to additional guidance available from third-party providers (such as AbilityNet) or internal links to provide the user with guidance in changing their settings?

LEVEL 2: CONTENT COMPLIANCE

Level 2: Content Compliance assesses the quality of the information provided about technical specifications, transparency around non-compliance, and required legal language.

10. Technical information about this website’s accessibility (FACTS model: Compliance)

Is a compliant version of the following statement included: “[Name of organisation] is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.”

11. Compliance with Web standards (FACTS model: Compliance)

Does the accessibility statement contain information about the website’s compliance level with the WCAG 2.1 AA web standard?

12. Non-Accessible Content (FACTS model: Compliance)

Does the accessibility statement include the heading "Non-accessible content" and the following required statement: “The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons"?

13. Non-Compliance with the Accessibility Regulations (FACTS model: Compliance)

Does the accessibility statement include the subheading "Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations" where it provides information about content that is non-compliant with the accessibility regulations? Information about non-compliance issues may include, but is not limited to, the following examples:

  • the text will not reflow in a single column when you change the size of the browser window.

  • you cannot modify the line height or spacing of text.

  • older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software.

  • live video streams do not have captions.

  • online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard.

  • you cannot skip to the main content when using a screen reader.

14. Non-Compliance with the Accessibility Regulations (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable)

Does the accessibility statement include the subheading "Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations" where it provides information about content that is non-compliant with the accessibility regulations? Is the information about non-compliant content specific enough for a user to anticipate their support needs?

15. Disproportionate burden (FACTS model: Compliance + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement include the subheading "Disproportionate Burden"? Does the accessibility statement provide a justifiable list of the accessibility issues that are claimed to be a disproportionate burden to fix?

16. Content that is not within scope of accessibility regulations (FACTS model: Compliance)

Does the accessibility statement include the subheading " Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations"? Is a list provided within the accessibility statement of the content that is not within the scope of the accessibility regulations?

17. Accessibility Roadmap (FACTS model: Compliance + Transparent)

Is an accessibility roadmap provided within, or linked to, the accessibility statement indicating future planned improvements and an estimated timeframe for completion?

18. Third Party Suppliers + Content (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Supportive)

Does the institution’s accessibility statement refer to third party suppliers or content and provide options for sourcing accessibility statements or information about these suppliers?

LEVEL 3: USER EXPERIENCE

Level 3: User Experience measures the quality of the information provided within the accessibility statement with regard to personalization of the website to meet the user’s requirements. This is where the opportunity to empower users comes in. Move beyond “compliant/non-compliant” to supporting the user experience.

Definition Reminders

Formative

Information telling users how to benefit from your accessibility successes. For example:

  • Magnify the content on this website up to 300% using inbuilt browser features (e.g. CTRL plus sign for PCs or Command plus sign for Macs). The content will reflow to fit the screen. You can also use browser settings to change the default text size displayed. Browser plugins (for example A+ FontSize Changer Lite for Chrome) can give easy control over text size. Use browser plugins at your own risk and always check reviews.

Actionable

Information telling users how to anticipate and mitigate accessibility barriers. For example:

  • This website doesn’t currently reflow when magnified. While we’re fixing this problem, you might try these workarounds. Use the built in text-to-speech option on a mobile, tablet, Windows 10 or Mac device. Alternatively contact us and we’ll email you the information you require in a Word document.

19. Colours + Contrast (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement include information on changing colours or contrast levels on the website? This might include in-built features, third party tools or browser plugins.

20. Magnification + Reflow (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement include information on magnification and reflow?

21. Keyboard Navigation: Page Navigation (skip links, tab order + visual focus) (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement provide information about keyboard navigation in the form of skip links, tab order and visual focus?

22. Keyboard Navigation: Menu + Sub-Menu Navigation (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement provide information about keyboard navigation relating to menu and sub-menu navigation on the website?

23. Navigating using a screen reader (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement include information on the website’s compatibility with screen reader technologies? This may include information on recommended browser type and version for optimum compatibility.

24. Images + alt-text (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement make reference to the provision of alt-text for images on the website?

25. Meaningful hyperlink text (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does the accessibility statement state that meaningful hyperlink text has been included across the website?

26. Alternative text methods for video and/or audio content (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Does video or audio have signposted alternative text methods (for instance captioning, transcription, audio descriptions etc.)?

27. Consistent hierarchical heading structure for pages (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable, Transparent)

Does the web page contain a logical + consistent hierarchical heading structure to promote easy navigation for screen reader users?

28. Accessibility of form-content (FACTS model: Formative/Actionable + Transparent)

Are website forms accessible to users? Instructions, cues, required form fields, and field formatting requirements must be clearly identified to users. Error recovery must be intuitive + descriptive.

HOW DID YOU DO?

We hope this checklist encourages you to go beyond compliance and make your accessibility investments pay for themselves + tell your organisation's story. If you would like an independent assessment + ASPIREscore for your accessibility statement or consultancy in creating your statement, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.

learn more + contact us

The FACTS model for accessibility statements has been designed + developed in collaboration with our friends at:

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