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If you can't enjoy the web, what's the point?

If you can't enjoy the web, what's the point?

Web accessibility is the principle of allowing every Internet user (with or without visual, auditory or mobile disabilities), whatever their level, to take full advantage of what the pages show and propose.

To enable this, there are a number of rules: the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). They are drawn up by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

Accessibility in 4 words

The WCAG recommendations are classified according to four main principles that summarise the whole approach and its objective: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.

For each of the rules set out, the success criteria (the points to be checked in fact) are divided into three levels of difficulty: A, AA and AAA. The more A’s there are, the more restrictive the criteria are.

Perceivable

Perceivable

The look of the page and its components must make the information available. Here we are talking about alternative texts describing the images; subtitles; audio description. It is also an adaptable layout (format, appearance), and distinguishing the elements and their functions from each other.

Operable

Operable

This point brings together elements related to keyboard access, or the possibility of controlling the time (scrolling, reading, repeating, pausing, etc.). It also includes all navigation issues (titles, links, hierarchy, buttons, etc.).

Understandable

Understandable

All content must be readable and easily understandable. These are questions of language level, alternative proposals, definitions, pronunciations. These are also the coherences in the behaviour of the pages, the announced navigation, the general logic of the functioning of the website.

Robust

Robust

All elements developed, designed and implemented must be compatible with all media and assistive technologies. This means programming, languages and flexibility.

The rules in details

Accessibility, what for?

Far from breaking your creativity and making your website a boring platform, you have everything to gain. Here is a demonstration.

Improve your SEO

An accessible site is extremely well structured in terms of title hierarchy, definition of keywords, alternative texts to images and videos, shortened or lengthened versions of texts. You have worked on its wording to ensure that it can be understood by anyone. The content is clear, coherent and well constructed.

The right words, the right titles, the right nomenclature, you see where this leads? That’s exactly what search engines are looking for and love! This is the basis of good natural referencing.

Respect the law

Because despite all the real advantages of being accessible, there are still areas that are not, the law in Belgium requires all websites and mobile applications of public bodies to be accessible. This obligation has been in force since 23 June 2021 for mobile applications, and since 23 September 2021 for websites. A designated body checks that the actions are being implemented.

If you do not yet have an accessible website, it is not too late to upgrade!

Expand your audience

As a logical continuation of the previous point, an accessible site is quite simply a site capable of welcoming and satisfying a greater number of people. And when a good part of the evaluation of an action is measured in terms of clicks, views, minutes spent on a page or shares, opening the door wider is not an element to be neglected.
Keep this in mind: the elderly, colour blind, visually impaired, dyslexic, etc., represent about 25% of the people you want to reach…

Improve your image

The image of a brand, the reputation of a campaign, the reputation of a company, all these elements today depend in part on the website that supports them. If it is correctly accessible to all Internet users, this can only be positive for your general communication. You can thus add a paragraph to your ethical commitments.

I want an accessible website

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In Belgium, the label AnySurfer

AnySurfer is an independent Belgian organisation that labels accessible websites. The organisation has made web accessibility its raison d’être and provides a number of services to companies to promote it: audits, training, labelling, workshops, etc.

Receiving this label is official proof that your website complies with accessibility standards.

More on AnySurfer

Spade is Anysurfer certified since 2013

In April 2013, Spade was the first agency in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to be awarded the Anysurfer labellink to its certificate. Today, this label has been applied to only 8 agencies – but over 70 websites!

For Spade, it was the official recognition of its commitments and achievements. It knows how to produce accessible websites, respecting 3 conditions:

  1. understanding the principles of digital accessibility
  2. applying these principles
  3. promoting these principles to its clients, partners and beyond

Almost 10 years later, we continue to regularly develop sites according to WCAG 2 standards (and we are closely following the development of WCAG 3, to come!)

In 2021, Spade joined the group of companies that have signed the Responsible Digital Charter, which aims to promote, develop and implement an ethical digital world: more inclusive, more respectful of the environment, and more accessible!

100 % accessible websites

All our sites can be developed to be accessible. When we take over existing sites, we can also correct them to improve these criteria.

Because we realise that some scholarships cannot afford a complex website, but do not want to cut back on the accessibility of what they are promoting, we have developed a 100% accessible website environment.

Designed for quick and/or low-budget projects – but with ambitions as broad as their audience – we present Minos.

Minos, our tool towards accessibility

Accessibility is everyone’s business in an agency, whether you are working on the graphic design, the code of a page, the production of texts, images or videos.

Because it is a general working framework rather than a label to make things look pretty, we wanted to make it easier for people who are starting out in the meanders of accessibility: clean design, standard content blocks with all the expected functionalities, advanced ergonomics, regular updates, simplified content management. Minos is an easy-to-use tool for a professional result, offered with the full support of an expert agency behind it. The different blocks can be arranged and moved according to your wishes, but the person working on it leaves with one certainty: in terms of development and design, his site will be 100% accessible. All that’s left to do is concentrate on the content!

Organise and communicate on your own, we’ll take care of the rest.

I want a Minos

We talk about it and we act

Please find below our last publications and news on the topic.

Fancy for an accessible website?

An accessible site means a more visited site. Better referenced. It’s a site… really for everyone.

Simple projects or complex sites, we will be happy to advise you! Call us, write to us, we are already happy with your approach.

GDPR Info

The information you submit via the form below will be emailed to you and used to contact you if we are interested in your request.

We will not do anything else with your data unless you become a valued customer or employee.

Type of project

GDPR Info

The information you submit via the form below will be emailed to you and used to contact you if we are interested in your request.

We will not do anything else with your data unless you become a valued customer or employee.

But why... ? How... ?

Accessibility is a term that we see and hear more and more, yet behind its apparent simplicity it is a whole project that needs to be rethought!

Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have. If any are missing, please let us know via the form above.

  • Having your website labelled is a choice, not an obligation. Just as you can grow vegetables organically without having an organic label, you can have a website developed that meets all accessibility standards without having it labelled. The advantage of having a label, however, is that you can easily present a detailed list of the criteria you check off to the public. The list is clear and publicly accessible, and anyone can agree or disagree with the facts.

    We make this point because, like any label, AnySurfer comes at a price – which depends on the complexity of the site being analysed.

    Depending on whether it is a small, medium or complex website, the budget for audits (first and follow-up audits, plus reports) varies roughly between €1,500 and €4,500.

    AnySurfer will provide you with a customised quote for each request. Just ask them.

  • The AnySurfer label can be applied to three types of entities: a website, a web agency (a company), a web developer (a person).

    The label certifies that AnySurfer has assessed the accessibility of the site (WCAG 2 level A, AA or AAA), or the ability to produce accessible websites (for agencies and developers). A status page summarises the accessibility level information, the date, etc. It’s a little bit like your diploma!

    Getting a website labelled is a process that can start at several points in the project.

    The easiest: think about it first

    Whether you take a training course to do it yourself, or are accompanied by a certified company, thinking about accessibility upstream is a time (and money) saver. Your website and its functionalities will be designed with all the required parameters already in place – so there will be nothing to redo or rework afterwards. At each stage, accessibility is checked and a final audit is carried out to confirm the level of accessibility.

    You can also have tests carried out during the project to ensure that you are on the right track.

    Getting the label for an already existing website

    Ordering an audit for a website that has already been completed and launched is of course feasible (and recommended in all cases), but if accessibility was not a topic during its development, you can expect longer costs and redevelopment times.

    The process is simple: you order an audit from AnySurfer, which carries out the tests and then provides you with a report. This report calls for adaptations, which are tested once they have been made. A new report is produced, which may call for adaptations, which are tested, etc., until the adjustments to the site reach the desired level of accessibility.

    Only with the green light from AnySurfer can you display the logo on your page.

    For professionals

    For agencies and web developers, obtaining the label (i.e. proving their ability to produce accessible websites) is done through training, followed by practical implementation of accessible websites. Finally, they have a mission to promote digital accessibility to their clients and partners.

     

    In short, how do you get labelled? Simply contact AnySurfer to request an audit of the site once it is completed.

  • In Belgium, AnySurfer is the officially recognised label for accessibility.

    Beyond this label, several organisations offer audits of websites or mobile applications to measure their level of accessibility (Eleven Ways, Five Oaks, etc.)

    On the basis of these reports, and considering that the next step is to make your website/application compliant, you can draw up an accessibility declaration.

    This document is a page of your website or application that honestly details the level of accessibility of your tool, how and on what basis you have established it, what you plan to do to address short or long term weaknesses, and who can be contacted by someone who does not understand it.

    You can consult the BOSA declaration assistant (in French) or the W3C declaration assistant for example.

    Finally, if you prefer not to embark on any of these procedures but are curious about the level of accessibility of one of your pages, you can use the BOSA Accessibility Check (page in French but tool in several languages), a small tool which quickly indicates the number of errors and remarks for a given page and details for each one what is causing concern. This tool is not as good as an in-depth report or analysis by a professional, but it will give you an idea of the extent of what you have to do.

  • Of course! The label serves to quickly and clearly show what you are complying with and to what extent – it is proof that you have gone the extra mile.

    However, you can choose to ignore it and be satisfied with a training course that you implement on your site, or with a more or less thorough audit accompanied by a statement detailing everything that you implement, why and how.

    Being labelled is not compulsory, it is an official recognition of your thoughts on accessibility. What really counts is what you put behind it, your convictions, your commitments and your actions. If you want to be accessible, that already changes a lot.

  • As we explain on the dedicated page here, there are at least four (4) good reasons to develop an accessible website or mobile application:

    • expand your audience – with an accessible site, you can really think that 100% of your target audience is seeing, reading, or listening to you
    • improve your SEO – anything you do to increase the accessibility of your website will help your SEO
    • build your (brand) image – to put it quickly, it’s a good point to have an accessible digital platform
    • apply the rules – it’s now the law that all public websites and applications must comply with accessibility requirements. Don’t wait for the same to happen in the private sector to get up to speed

    More information on accessibility

  • Yes and no. Accessibility is mostly about common sense.

    Imagine an extreme situation – a well-intentioned person tries to read your “about” page. His or her glasses are all fogged up and you’ve written everything in tiny, light grey on a white background, with no distinction between headings, paragraphs, links, buttons. You missed.

    This same person is dying to listen to the interview with your CEO, but a brass band has gone upstairs with him or her in the metro. The video has no subtitles? Wrong again.

    Decidedly passionate, this person is interested in a particularly relevant infographic posted the day before on your site. Bad luck, his or her smartphone is scratched and no longer renders colours accurately… Without a good caption to keep it understandable, your infographic is useless.

    Three far-fetched examples, but one reality: an accessible site is one where the elements can be interpreted by the greatest number of people. Can’t see the image? It must have a caption. Can’t hear the video? It must have a subtitle. Don’t know where to click? The button should stand out and clearly indicate what it does. The characters are unreadable? It should be possible to enlarge it, or it should stand out from the background. And so on.

    Accessibility is not so complicated, it requires thinking about what to put, where, and why. And for each element, to ask yourself: is it readable? Audible? Visible?

    Here you will find some initial tips on how to write a page correctly. For a complete and exhaustive version, we invite you to read the WCAG 2 here in English.

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