Last year we visited Kenneth Jensen, webmaster for Danish council Frederikssund Kommune, to hear more about their plans to address web accessibility requirements using software such as Assist. We learned their goal was to meet the AAA requirements for web accessibility by 23 September 2020. So how have they been doing? And is it at all realistic to achieve 100% web accessibility on all their digital channels?
We followed up with Kenneth Jensen and took a look at how far they have come in achieving their lofty ambition.
In 2019, Frederikssund Kommune was already on its way to becoming one of Denmark’s first councils with bragging rights to satisfying WCAG 2.1 AAA requirements. Frederikssund Kommune had laid out a detailed plan for how to make their digital channels and documents accessible. With a plan in place and the necessary software to act as a lever, they felt they were in a position to pursue an AAA rating.
Understanding fosters engagement
Kenneth Jensen recommends first and foremost making sure that all users understand the underlying reasons for the webaccessibility requirements and the new technology they will be using. Creating a better understanding of the challenge helps employees to view it as a mission. A mission that is bigger than any legislation – one that gives everyone equal access to the same information.
But execution is critical to ensuring employees become engaged in that mission. Kenneth Jensen employed a series of initiatives to strengthen engagement and interest in web accessibility across Frederikssund Kommune and, in that way, encourage employees to embrace the new technology.
”The technology is necessary for cementing changes in the way the employees work. Once you have the right technology, you can begin establishing new work procedures and changing mind-sets in the organisation.“– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune
Jesper Holten, IT Policy Consultant for the Danish Association of the Blind, digitally visited the many departments of Frederikssund Kommune. In a video, Jesper Holten demonstrated the challenges that the blind and vision impaired experience in their day-to-day lives. Documents and websites can quickly become labyrinths when they fail to live up to the web accessibility requirements.
Technology as a tool
Learning about the challenges that people with disabilities face each day was the first step. And, while Frederikssund Kommune lightened the workload with premarked document templates, there was still a way to go towards satisfying the AAA requirements. With their new understanding of an invisible problem, all the staff needed was to be introduced to a tool that could resolve the remaining challenges in their documents.
A short video of less than 3 minutes introducing employees to Assist was distributed on the council’s intranet. The tool scans documents, points outs issues and guides users in repairing inaccessible documents. The tool is semi-automatic, which means users needn’t have any training in Microsoft 365 or WCAG guidelines.
”Assist was important for our journey towards achieving AAA accessibility. The software made it possible to create accessible documents with 1–2 clicks – without a deep understanding of either legislation or Microsoft 365 functions.“– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune
Is 100% accessibility possible?
Websites and their content are constantly changing, which means new material must be marked correctly and made accessible, in order to maintain a high level of web accessibility.
Frederikssund Kommune has reached new heights in terms of web accessibility, and with Assist, they are on their way to realising their goal of 100% web-accessible documents. While there is still a little way to go, they are fast approaching a goal that once seemed highly ambitious. Today, it is just a matter of time before they reach the finish line with all their documents.
”Assist has been instrumental in achieving our ambition of satisfying AAA requirements.”– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune