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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reducing the Barriers to Legal and Mediation Services: Making our Website Accessible to All

Guest post by Kristyn Stoia:

Unless you’ve ever faced barriers while using a website, Web Accessibility is probably something that you’ve likely never heard of. However, there are numerous hurdles those with various impairments face when using the web, especially since the vast majority of sites aren’t designed with these needs in mind.

A website is regarded to be Accessible when measures have been taken to make certain that obstacles are removed to give equal access to the user. It also means that regardless of someone's physical, mental, or cognitive condition that they are able to freely use a website to obtain information and services.

Userway App Screenshot from Skylark WebsiteHere at Skylark Law & Mediation, PC, we took numerous steps to ensure Accessibility for each and every one of our users. We strived to adhere to the WCAG Outlines for Accessibility which means creating a site that was perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. In doing this, we took some specific measures:

We began by adding the Userway Plugin, which can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the website and this blog. This simple widget can really pack a punch in its capabilities and benefits for our users. It allows for keyboard navigation, cursor enlargement, color contrast, text enlargement, desaturation, link highlighting, legible fonts, as well as the ability to have the page read aloud to you. All these features are huge game changers in terms of the user experience. Best of all, it will remember the settings you chose, so each time you visit the Skylark website it will be ready to go.

On more of the tech side of the equation, there were many alterations that were done deep within the site. We added alternative text captions for each and every one of our images so that they could be read by screen readers,title attributes were removed in order to prevent a reductant experience from auditory software that would read out loud more content on the site than was necessary, and Skiplinks were added to allow for further navigation on the site. These are just a few of the adjustments we made in the pursuit of creating a far more accessible website.

Implementing Accessibility into our website was one simple way to be certain that all users on the Skylark website have equal access to the same user experience. Achieving a more Accessible site benefits all users regardless of their disabilities. Not only does the site now accommodate various disabilities but it also incorporates a fluid user interface for visitors. Legal services and information should be attainable by whoever seeks them, so by improving our site; we are fulfilling our role in leveling the playing field for all of our potential clients. All in all, accessibility is a huge issue that needs to be considered in order to welcome everyone to use the services or experience the content you're putting on the web.

For more information read the Accessibility Statement on our site.


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