Peter Hain MP seeks to make the contents of its website accessible to as many people as possible. There are four main groups of people who are likely encounter problems accessing a poorly written website:

  • People with a sensory impairment, which includes:
    o Visual impairments
    o Hearing impairments
  • People with motor impairments, e.g. arthritis, which makes it difficult to use a mouse or keyboard
  • People with a learning disability who may find lengthy or complicated sites difficult to use
  • People without access to the latest, highest specification, computer hardware or software

The Disability Discrimination Act makes it illegal for us to discriminate against a disabled person:

  • by refusing to provide (or deliberately not providing) any service which we otherwise provide to members of the public; or
  • offering a lower standard of service to a disabled person or the manner in which we provide it; or
  • in the terms on which we provide a service to a disabled person.

We aspire to a minimum of Level AA accessibility as set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0).  All checkpoints within Level A and AA must be adhered to. The following are identified as being particularly important:

  • A text equivalent for every non-text element (i.e. image or multimedia file) should be provided via “alt” (alternative text attribute) or if necessary the “longdesc” (long description attribute)
  • Documents should be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated stylesheet
  • Equivalents for dynamic content should be updated whenever the dynamic content is changed
  • For data tables, markup should be used to clearly identify and associate data cells and cell headers
  • Frames should be avoided
  • Pages should be usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or are not supported, or an accessible alternative should be provided
  • An option to skip navigation should be provided
  • The site will not use technologies that require the downloading of new software, if this can be avoided.  If this cannot be avoided an accessible version will be provided
  • On each page where Adobe PDF files are used users are referred to full details on accessing these files by a variety of means
  • Content should be clear, concise and accessible to all
  • The site should be tested using the following:
    o keyboard only
    o JavaScript turned of
    o stylesheets turned off
    o linearised order
    o text only browser or screen reader