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Improved accessibility through education

Nottingham City Council educates its team and improves web accessibility using Silktide.

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Challenge

  • Identifying accessibility issues to WCAG 2.1
  • Limited time for inter-departmental training
  • No on-demand automated reporting
  • Shrinking budgets

Needs

  • Mobile accessibility testing to meet WCAG 2.1
  • Self-guided educational material
  • Real-time reporting and retesting
  • Cost-effective solution

Results

  • Improved accessibility score from 76 to 91
  • Empowered team with self-guided learning availability
  • Bottleneck removed with ad-hoc reporting
  • On-budget and simple procurement process

About NCC

Nottingham City Council’s website is headed up by David Hyslop, a 20-year veteran web developer. The team is responsible for maintaining over 10 main NCC sites and several ancillary sites.

NCC’s team comprises 5 full-time staff, 2 of which are responsible for maintaining the websites. A team of writers is also on hand to create new and update legacy content.

The challenge (and objectives)

As a small team of developers and content writers managing over 10 websites and thousands of pages, being able to track the workload, identify and correct issues, and share knowledge was paramount.

Due to a lack of capacity, training the team in identifying and resolving every issue was an impossible task, especially as developers are not necessarily teachers.

David previously used another automated testing platform, but this did not give real-time visibility on completed tasks. Being unable to run ad-hoc reports meant the team could not be certain which issues had been fixed outside of the regular weekly reports. This created some uncertainty.

With shrinking budgets, the cost of implementing any technology to assist the team was also an important consideration during the procurement process.

I like that I can contact Silktide whenever 
I need to get support, but the platform 
is so full of information I rarely need 
to take advantage of it.

David Hyslop | Web developer | Nottingham City Council

How Silktide helped NCC

“I was immediately impressed upon seeing Silktide for the first time”, David said, “in particular the way the platform UI was presented”.

“Of particular interest was the volume of educational information available in the platform, especially the videos explaining how to resolve the issues found by Silktide.”

Because of this content, which includes code examples and detailed explanations, David was able to show new staff members how to get up and running in under half an hour.

Silktide runs regular automated reports but also allows running additional ad-hoc reports at any time. “Allowing us to run ad-hoc reports has real value to our team. I feel that it solved the huge issue surrounding a lack of visibility across the team on completed and pending work.”, David said.

Our accessibility score increased from 76 to 91 in a short time, thanks to being able to identify more accessibility issues with Silktide.

David Hyslop | Web Developer | Nottingham City Council

“With the explanation of errors inside Silktide, I no longer need to explain why something is incorrect, as my team can learn as they go. This is especially useful for content creators who may not have a complete understanding of the technical aspects of web accessibility.”

In the process of implementing Silktide, David said, “I felt that the contact received from Silktide during the procurement process was great, especially the on-site product orientation visits which were something my previous provider did not offer.”

Results

David’s team has improved Nottingham City Council’s overall accessibility rating from 76 to 91 in just a few months. Every team member now has access to regular reports and in-depth training, which has increased productivity.

David found that Silktide discovered more issues, including a critical color contrast issue with NCC’s brand colors which was subsequently resolved.

Plans

David’s team has set some aspirational goals. “We aim to be in the top ten UK Council’s for accessibility in the Silktide Index“, said David.

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