What accessibility means

An accessible website means visitors to your website can access and understand information. This includes people with a disability and people who speak English as a second language. It also takes account of the user’s ability and their environment.

Why it matters

Consumers benefit from a website that is accessible. It doesn’t discriminate against those relying on assistive technology. Its content is easy to view and consume across devices. This makes your website available to as wide an audience as possible.

Why websites need to be accessible

Australian Government agencies must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA. This is a mandate in Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy.

How to make content accessible

The Digital Transformation Agency has a set of best-practice principles for designing and delivering government services. It called the Digital Service Standard criteria. Criteria 9 outlines steps through the phases of your site’s life cycle:

  • Discovery: The plan to meet design requirements. For example, how it will meet WCAG 2.0 AA.
  • Alpha: Identifying issues and barriers. These may need addressing in the Beta stage.
  • Beta: The design requirements for end users. For example consider how they may use your website on a mobile device.
  • Live: Ongoing testing plan. This ensures users can continue to access the service.

Meeting requirements using GovCMS

The GovCMS distributions do not create barriers to accessibility. Content authors can make content accessible through the use of headings, styles and alt text for images.

You are responsible for ensuring your content is accessible. This includes the theme layer which agencies are responsible for managing. Consider contrast, colour and text over images when designing your theme.

More information

Useful resources include:

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (W3C)
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C)
  • Exploring WCAG 2.1 for Australian government services (DTA)
  • Make content accessible - digital guide (Vic Gov)
This page was last updated on Tuesday 23 August 2022