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How to create an accessibility statement for your creative or cultural website

When creating work for the public, you’ve got a responsibility to make sure everyone can use it the way you intended them to. If you’re creating a website using public funds, you’re obliged to include an accessibility statement.

One of the things you can do to make sure everyone is clear on how to interact with your content is to create an accessibility statement for your creative or cultural website.  An accessibility statement should outline the steps you have taken to make your work accessible and detail any known accessibility issues. Your accessibility statement should give alternative access options or details of who to contact if some of your content can’t be made accessible. This means that even if your content doesn’t meet all accessibility criteria, people know what efforts you’ve made and how to address any barriers they may encounter.

Creating an accessibility statement for your website is an essential step to demonstrating your commitment to making your digital content accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. The benefit of good accessibility is that it makes your content easier for everyone to use. It also demonstrates that you care, you’re inclusive, and you are taking steps to make your content as accessible as possible.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a comprehensive accessibility statement for your website.

Step one – assess your website for accessibility

Guidelines suggest that you take two pages from your site and audit them for accessibility. However, you might want to think about the most important actions and activities on your website and use those pages to form the basis of your audit.

For example, your website purpose may be to book tickets, gain donations, and share great videos. This would mean that you’d need to check the content is accessible for all these activities, which could possibly include more than two pages of your website.

There is a brilliant guide on how to perform a simple website audit on the gov.uk site which you can refer to. There are also various agencies that can perform a digital audit for you if you have the funds to do this. Alternatively, you can reach out to our Tech Champion for Digital Accessibility for some 1-2-1 support to help you through this process.

Useful accessibility tools:

There are also a few tools that you can use to check your content, which highlight technical issues and things that can automatically be checked for.

Critical friends:

Asking for feedback from your site visitors or forming a working group of people who face accessibility challenges (sometimes referred to as critical friends), is also a very useful thing to do during this phase, as some accessibility issues are difficult to spot if you have no lived experience of a particular accessibility barrier.

Using your site with a keyboard:

Finally make sure your website can be operated with a keyboard. If you’re not sure how to do this, this article explains how people use the web with a keyboard.

Step two – Document or fix accessibility issues

Now you have collected information around the accessibility barriers on your website you can address fixing them. If they can’t be fixed, then you should document them so you can address them in your accessibility statement. Some of the changes might be simple and easy to fix, others you might need to ask your web developer to help you with.

Sometimes it’s not possible to fix the issue, this could be due to financial restrictions, internal resources, technical limitations, or similar. In this case you can note the issues down and think about alternative ways that people could access this content. Perhaps it’s a point of contact in your organisation that people could talk to or email.

You might also want to carry out the work over a longer period of time to spread the cost or workload, so in this case you could create a roadmap of future work to be done and a plan for who is responsible and when.

Step three – Write your website accessibility statement

You should now have all the information you need to complete your website accessibility statement.

The W3C have created this easy to use website accessibility statement generator. You can use this tool to help you write your accessibility statement.

Gov.uk have also made this helpful example accessibility statement for you to reference.

You can use your brand tone of voice and explain all the steps you’ve taken to make your digital content accessible; you can put all this information on its own web page.

Next steps

Now you have your website accessibility statement written, you can upload it to your website. A common place to put the link to your accessibility statement is in the footer of your website.

This article has set out some of the key processes behind creating your website accessibility statement.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on X @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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