Mid Ulster Council promises to make website disability friendly

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A DUP councillor from Dungannon has welcomed Mid Ulster District Council’s decision to ensure their new website will be easily accessible to people with range of disabilities, from April 1 this year.

Kim Ashton has praised the forward thinking move to make the site compliant with the W3C WAI-AAA standard.

This means that the website and its content will be created following ‘web content accessibility guidelines’ (WCAG), which help to ensure that it caters for and presents information in a way that is more user friendly for people with various types of disability.

“Mid Ulster Council held a public consultation on the proposed Equality Scheme and Disability Action Plan,” Cllr Ashton told the Mail.

“From this consultation it was highlighted by two organisations that the current Mid Ulster Council website is not W3C WAI-AAA compliant, which disadvantages people with disabilities.

“I was assured at the meeting that the new council website due to be launched on the 1 April 2015 will be compliant to the W3C WAI-AAA standard,” she added, “which will make our website more accessible for people with a disability.

“It is important that Mid Ulster District Council ensure that all our ratepayers are able to access information, and I will be checking in April 2015 to ensure the Mid Ulster Council deliver on this aspect of the website.”

A spokesperson for the council further explained: “Designed to provide basic information about the council during its ‘shadow’ period, the existing web site is online temporarily. The new site, which will reflect the council’s full range of services and functions when it becomes operational on April 1, is under development.

“The new site is being created following ‘web content accessibility guidelines’ (WCAG), which help to ensure that a site’s content is accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities.

“Within the guidelines there are three different accessibility standards and Mid Ulster District Council is committed to meeting the ‘AAA’ standard, the highest level of compliance.”

WCAGs, which are used in the creation of websites the world over, were developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organisations across the globe to form a single shared standard for web content accessibility.