Public organisations across the EU have been busy making their websites and documents accessible. When it comes to web accessibility in documents, there are many different measures that ensure organisations can reach their goal. Danish council Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune was looking to optimise the process of accessibility in documents from start to finish, to make it as easy as possible for staff to achieve accessibility.
Web accessibility in documents
Web accessibility in documents is a never-ending process, since new documents are created every day, and it takes knowledge, time and commitment to ensure accessibility. All documents need to be marked up individually for accessibility, which means staff have to mark up documents before publishing or sending them.
It was therefore important to Anette Stokholm, Webmaster for Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune, to find the best tools to ensure that the workload on the staff was minimal in their work to achieve accessibility in documents. It needed to be intuitive, fast and could not be too burdensome.
Fast track to accessibility
Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune saw a fast track to accessible documents in AccessibilityFixer. The Microsoft 365 add-on guides employees, from start to finish, in creating accessibility in their documents. It does not take any special training or knowledge about web accessibility guidelines, since the solution points out the places where mark-up is needed and makes it easy for the employee to correct them.
In Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune however, they wanted to take it a step further. AccessibilityFixer made it easy and required only minimal employee training, but according to Anette Stokholm, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune still was not quite where it wanted to be in terms of accessibility. So they looked into the options for making the council’s templates web accessible and, at the same time, adopting Standard Content. The aim was to eliminate the risk of human error and omissions.
“We are doing our utmost to get web accessibility in check, and with a combination of AccessibilityFixer and DynamicTemplate, we have come a long way in automating accessibility in our documents.”Anette Stokholm, Webmaster, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune
Automation with templates and Standard Content
To accommodate a more automated approach to web accessibility in documents, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune started examining the options that DynamicTemplate offered. Anette Stokholm and her team started by replacing the existing 350 templates, and today they have just five DynamicTemplate templates.
The templates use replaceable content, which allowed Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune to pre-mark their templates for accessibility. Logos, office hours and all the basic elements of their templates are fully accessible from the beginning – employees do not need to focus on accessibility when writing letters.
“With pre-marked templates and Standard Content, the employee does not have to spend time making a document accessible. It has already been done, since they are using standardised text.”Anette Stokholm, Webmaster, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune
To cross the finish line, the designated Standard Content editors adapted their content (pre-written blocks of standard text that are used as building blocks in letters) to comply with the accessibility guidelines. They made sure that the Standard Content their colleagues used frequently contained all the necessary markups for standard texts and elements.
Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune has automated accessibility in their documents. And in the rare instances when employees make manual changes, AccessibilityFixer is used to scan and mark up the changes.
With foresight and help from both AccessibilityFixer and DynamicTemplate, Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune has ensured that web accessibility is not a burden on staff in their everyday work, as it removes the need for extensive employee training. Documents are created in just a few clicks and are marked up for accessibility from the start. Anette Stokholm is certain that the automation of accessibility in documents will be hugely beneficial, especially now that electronic mail is also subject to legislation.