The internet is changing the way we live – we pay our taxes online, apply for jobs, book travel and search the web for offers and information. It’s changing the way health organisations deliver services and information – driving patients to ‘self serve’ online, from booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and accessing information in records.
But for millions, the internet is inaccessible. There are 12 million people in the UK who lack the basic digital skills required to go online.
By law, your website must be accessible to all
The 12 million people who lack basic digital skills are protected by the Equality Actand the Accessible Information Standard which state that service providers must not discriminate against disabled people. Websites are considered services too so by law, they should be accessible to everyone. Afterall, if you want patients to use your online services it makes sense to make them as accessible as possible, right?
Making online services more accessible benefits everyone, not just those with disabilities. For example, there are 4 million people in the UK who don’t speak English as their first language – using online services can be just as challenging for them.
So, we’ve pulled together our top five recommendations for making your services more accessible to all.
- Appoint an accessibility champion at a senior level to establish a culture where accessibility thinking becomes part of everything you do.
- Educate staff about assistive technology and how it can help your customers
- Ensure your website design adheres to WCAG 2.0 standards
- Use Plain English to describe your products and services
- Consider implementing digital inclusion software to provide your content in alternative formats such as reading it out loud, translating it, converting it to an audio file and magnifying it