Planning for accessibility
Planning for accessibility at the beginning of your web projects will ensure they deliver print and online information that is accessible for disabled people.
Engage with Disabled People’s Organisations
If you get in touch with Disabled People’s Organisations early you can allocate the appropriate time and budget into your project plan. Retrofitting is expensive.
Disabled People’s Organisations can advise on:
- alternate formats — what's appropriate for the project
- budget — production costs for alternate formats
- timeframes — the time needed to complete the alternate formats (usually a minimum of 4 weeks)
- process — the steps to take to produce alternate formats and any testing that’s needed.
Who should I contact?
These Disabled People's Organisations can provide advice on how to produce information in alternate formats.
People First New Zealand, Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi
People First New Zealand is run by, and for, people with learning disabilities. They can provide advice on how to produce information in:
- Easy Read.
Blind Citizens NZ
The Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Incorporated (Blind Citizens NZ) is New Zealand’s leading blindness member-led and consumer-driven organisation. They can provide advice on how to produce information in:
- large print
- audio description.
Deaf Aotearoa represents the voice of Deaf New Zealanders. They can provide advice on how to produce information in:
- NZSL video
- captions on videos.
‘Alternate formats’ means information presented in formats that can be accessed by people with disabilities.
When producing alternate formats, remember to:
- develop your content in concise plain English — this will make the information easier to translate into alternate formats, which also keeps the cost down
- avoid deficit-based language — focus on positive outcomes and personal strengths, rather than problems and barriers.
When your site goes live communicate, externally and internally, that alternate formats are available and where to find them.
Information provided in HTML format should use accessible:
- semantic markup — using HTML tags that describe their contents, for example <button>
- typefaces — sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Lucida Sans, Tahoma and Verdana
- layout — easy to scan with hierarchical headings, bulleted and ordered lists, and descriptive links
- graphs or pictures — described and referenced in the text.
Tender documents and contracts
Accessibility is a non-negotiable requirement for potential contractors and providers.
Contractors and providers must provide evidence that their products or services can comply with accessible requirements.
Ensure any tender documents and contracts include accessibility.
Example of wording for tender documents and contracts
Each government agency should work with their legal team, however the following text can be a template to start from.
[NZ Government organisation] is legally obligated and committed to ensuring that its information, products and services are accessible to everyone. [Supplier] shall:
- deliver all applicable services and products in reasonable compliance with applicable New Zealand Government standards (for example, NZ Government Web Accessibility Standard 1.1)
- upon request, provide [NZ Government organisation] with its accessibility testing results and written documentation verifying accessibility
- promptly respond to and resolve accessibility complaints
- indemnify and hold [NZ Government organisation] harmless in the event of claims arising from inaccessibility.
Potential users can test for accessibility — talk to the relevant Disabled People’s Organisation if you need help with testing.
Feedback and shared learning
Encourage your audience to provide feedback and respond to feedback in a timely way.
Feedback is a useful way to review how accessible a product or service is, and to find out more about your audience and their needs.
Share your experiences with colleagues and provide training where needed.