Accessibility

Derwent Living has created the new website to be as user friendly and accessible as possible. This page outlines some of the features you can find on the site and why we think they’re important. 

Responsive for mobile

The site has been built to work on the devices people use. We researched how people were using our services to find out exactly what these are. The majority of visitors to the site use mobile devices, but because technology moves quickly not everyone has the option to upgrade every year to take advantage of the latest features.

So we’ve employed the latest technology to make sure the site looks great, works well and stays secure, but with support for older browsers and devices.

While a lot of websites will only support the last two major versions of a web browser, the methods we’ve used should work back to at least Internet Explorer 7.  And a lot of testing and tweaking was done to ensure it would work on any reasonably modern mobile phone or tablet.

It might not look exactly the same on all devices, but that shouldn’t stop anyone accessing the information they need.

Functional design

The site has been designed with the input of customers, and with minimal styling applied to graphics and other design elements as possible. The whole site uses a design language which is functional in order to convey information to visitors as quickly as possible.  Motion and other effects have been kept subtle so as not to distract, or disturb people who may otherwise experience motion sickness, as well as to serve information as quickly as possible.

Accessible content

Colours have been chosen to provide a strong  contrast (and colour is not solely relied upon to indicate links), font size is kept reasonably high (and zoom controls are not disabled), and form elements retain proper borders so that they are easily distinguished from the rest of the page. Hidden controls enhance keyboard-only navigation.

Where icons are used as a link, a text alternative is used so that it makes sense when using a screen reader.  We’re also striving to make sure that all photographs used in articles have descriptive alternative text, rather than repeating the caption or using a meaningless file name.

Content across the site has been written to make it easy for people to read, in plain English with an emphasis on simple words, with headings in sentence case. All of this makes it easier to access our services for people who have restricted vision, learning difficulties, or where English is not their first language (see Translation, below).

The website aims to meet the requirements of the A11Y accessibility project and is undergoing testing by partially sighted customers, which will be incorporated into future updates.

Search

Not everyone can find what they’re looking for when they visit a site. To ensure our visitors get what they need we’ve developed a custom search section. It is available from the top menu of the site on a desktop browser, and in the main navigation menu when used on mobile.

Translation

We’ve implemented Google Translate into the website, so visitors whose first language isn’t English are able to understand the content we publish. Our customer service team are also able to direct customers to the translated pages by sending custom links, reducing the need for lengthy translated phone calls.