The South Australian State Government is launching a new online accessibility policy, and online toolkit to help all South Australian organisations in creating more accessible digital platforms.
According to a recent press release, it is critical that government websites are developed to guarantee that everyone in the community can easily access them and that no one is left behind.
Digital access for all
It is vital that online content is accessible for those most in need.
Not only should it help break down barriers for people with disability, but it should also allow them to participate independently in the community.
The policy and toolkit have been developed in consultation with a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia, a not-for-profit organisation providing services to Australians who have a severe vision impairment, people with lived experience with disability and other key stakeholders in the disability sector.
A plethora of people will be benefiting from the policy. They are:
- A person with vision impairment who requires a screen reader to navigate or contribute to a web page
- Older people with age-related challenges
- People with temporary incapacities such as a broken arm or lost glasses
- People using a slow internet connection or those who have limited or expensive bandwidth
- People using internet devices that may not be running the latest software versions
Additionally, the new toolkit gives users practical tips to improve online accessibility for everyone. This includes:
- Visual design, which means having enough contrast between the text and its background colour
- Language, which makes sure language is in plain English and easy to understand
- Formatting, which is about using the right heading styles and descriptive hyperlinks to ensure a screen reader can navigate the text in order
- Video and audio content, which entail using captions and transcripts so that users have the option to read instead of listen, or to translate into other languages
- Images, which require adding a caption and text behind the image to ensure that if it cannot be viewed, users can understand what is in the image
Who should use the toolkit?
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said that the new toolkit would be made available to all organisations to use, including local government, private enterprise and the not-for-profit sector.
All organisations across South Australia are encouraged to review their website content and make use of these free resources to help improve access for everyone.
The co-design of this policy and toolkit is another example of the State Government’s commitment to ensure people with disability have the leading role in shaping policies and creating programs which influence their lives.
It is great that the State Government is taking a leadership position and creating a toolkit that will assist all South Australian organisations to think about how they develop digitally accessible platforms.
The leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia is supporting more than 25,000 blind people or people with low vision across Australia.
They are confident this toolkit and more accessible digital platforms will help those people achieve the possibilities that they choose in life.