We’ve rolled out some changes this week to improve the accessiblity of our website.
We’ve improved our image sliders to reduce distractions. The sliders can now be paused with a pause button, so you don’t have to keep your mouse on them to make them stop. This means that users who find them distracting can pause them and continue to use the page.
We’ve also stopped our image sliders from interfering with screen readers. Previously the words on a slider would be read out when the slide image changed. This would happen regardless of where on the page the screen reader was reading content. The text would come in the middle of other sentences the screen reader was reading out, so it was very confusing. This no longer happens 🙂
Sliders were also a problem for users who were navigating using their keyboard. It was hard to see where you were on the page when you tabbed onto a slider, and you couldn’t stop the animation of the slider using the keyboard. Now you can see where you are and can tab onto the pause button and activate it to stop the slider moving.
We have made big improvements to ‘accordions’. These are the bars containing headings which expand to show additional text when you click on them. Our original accordions weren’t accessible to keyboard users and were also difficult to access using a screen reader. The new accordions are much more accessible. You can tab onto them and open and close them, and it is much simpler to have your screen reader to read out the contents of the accordions.
As part of our changes we have switched all pages using tabs to use accordions instead. At this point we’re considering whether there is a need to bring in an alternative way of creating tabs where they are needed. To make our tabs accessible, we would like to start from scratch with a new CMS content type rather than trying to have one content type doing different things. We’ll let users know when this is finalised.
There are still some accessiblity issues around our site, but we’re delighted to have fixed some of our most widespread and serious issues.