First, we carried out accessibility audits of the sites to identify barriers to access and developed an action plan to fix the problems that we identified. We carefully examined the sites and compared their accessibility against relevant standards and legislative requirements. Because of our multi-disciplinary expertise, we also built into the project a focus on usability. Meeting the accessibility guidelines does not automatically mean a web site will be usable and by combining our knowledge in both areas we were able to ensure WoltersKluwer had the best of both worlds.
We complemented the audits with training to help the development team become self-sufficient in designing accessible web pages and evaluating web pages for accessibility. The training helped developers to understand the obstacles facing disabled people as they use the web, to experience the assistive devices used by disabled people to overcome these barriers and to use standards and guidelines to design accessible sites.
In addition to the reduced risk of litigation, our work helped to increase usage of the site by reaching new users who might otherwise be excluded. The Disability Rights Commission report that there are 8.6 million disabled people in the UK, which amounts to 14% of the population. Making the web sites accessible substantially increased the potential audience of the Croner web sites.