Case study: Website accessibility audit for TalkingText

Talking Text logo

TalkingText have developed innovative textphone software that enables more people to have telephone communications with the deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired. It provides users with a new way of making Textphone calls without having to buy a Textphone or use a third party relay service.

The need for a web accessibility audit

TalkingText understand the importance of practicing what they preach, especially as they are approaching businesses regarding the DDA.

In June 2004 their website already had many accessibility features, including a text-only part of the site and fully adjustable text. However, realising that it was not fully accessible they asked us to review the site and provide practical and prioritised advice on how to improve it.

For background information on web accessibilty, read our report on the business case for accessible websites.

Surfability Solution

We have a tried-and-tested approach which takes full account of the W3C's WAI guidelines and we use various tools and devices to test the accessibility of websites. For the TalkingText website this involved:

  1. Gaining initial impressions of the site's usability by clicking around the site;
  2. Evaluating the site using an automated accessibility validator;
  3. Testing it with a assistive technologies (screen readers in this case);
  4. Viewing the site in various graphical and text-based web browsers;
  5. Checking the HTML and CSS for standards compliance;
  6. Manually evaluating the accessibility of a sample of pages with respect to the WAI guidelines; and
  7. Scanning the source code and comparing it with best practice techniques.

We then wrote up an an actionable accessibility audit (AAA) report which detailed the problems we found with the website and presented a phased priority-based strategy for implementing solutions to these accessiblity problems over a reasonable period of time.

The report also contained technical guidance on how to maintain the website and ensure that new web pages developed for the site will be immediately accessible to all visitors, regardless of their physical ability.

"As a company with a high moral obligation to the special needs market, the accessibility of our site was paramount, it was a key factor for us to lead by example. Surfability conducted a review of the site which was clear, concise and very comprehensive. Highlighting the positives as well as the areas needed to be improved, we have found the report to be essential in our growth, by identifying clearly what we need to do to make the 'front door' to our customers, DDA compliant."

Spencer Clark, Founder, TalkingText.

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