Blog post by Scott McLear, senior digital manager at RoS.
Over the past few months we have been building, testing and developing our new corporate website.
We went live with our public beta in early June 2018, a significant step towards delivering our ultimate goal of making ros.gov.uk the place for everyone to find out what they need to know about Scottish land and property registration.
Why is accessibility important?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.
Therefore we need to make sure that the site is made accessible to everyone. We have tested throughout inception all the way through to beta, with users from all aspects of accessibility levels.
The site is responsive on any device, and we have constantly iterated based on feedback from users. The website’s content is entirely based around usability and accessibility. We’ve taken an ‘inverted pyramid’ approach to each page, with the most important information at the start of the content. Presenting content this way saves our users time.
We’ve drastically reduced word counts, increased the font size and added prominent sub-headings to improve scanning and readability.
Our earlier blog, Redesign with end-users in mind, goes into more detail on how we have designed the site.
Overview of latest accessibility testing
We recently ran task based usability testing undertaken with disabled users with cognitive impairments, physical impairments and visual impairments.
We worked with participants with the relevant disability profile, rather than the customer profile as finding participants who fulfilled both requirements was difficult. We tested with participants who were blind, visually impaired, had dyspraxia and also those that were physically impaired.
We asked participants to undertake a range of tasks including,
- Initial thoughts and proposition of the site
- Find out what RoS does?
- Learn about the General Register of Sasines
- Make an appointment with Customer Services
- Submit an online enquiry
There were a number of positive comments made about the site.
- The visual design was appealing, clear and reminiscent of UK Government.
- Font size was good.
- Search was more prominent.
- Search auto correct was welcomed by users who had difficulty spelling.
- The integration with Twitter posts was considered useful.
- The orange focus highlight made determining keyboard focus easier.
Conclusion, Overall themes and next steps
- Placement of navigation elements need to be better placed for assistive technology users.
- Users used navigation more than search.
- Observed behaviour suggests that “support” and “get in touch” are not labels that users associate with the information they are looking for.
- Various elements are not optimised for screen readers (badly labelled buttons, new pages opening without warning, auto-suggest content which isn’t exposed to screen readers).
We have started working on improving the site already based on this feedback and will make the relevant changes where appropriate, so expect to read more about that in future blogs.
Find out more
If you are interested in testing the new site please get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org