We are committed to providing websites, intranets and online applications that are accessible to the widest possible audience. We proactively work to ensure that our websites are accessible and usable by people of all abilities.
There is additional information about the functionality available on this website on the how to use this website page.
This policy applies to all online services provided by Darlington Borough Council.
The Darlington Borough Council websites aim to provide information about key services to residents, businesses and other interested parties (target audience may vary from website to website – see below for more information). Web users can also complete a number of tasks online: including making online payment, searching and commenting on planning applications and filling in online forms. We are planning to increase the amount of transactional services available online over time.
We do not have a specific target audience for www.darlington.gov.uk. There are over 1,000 pages which target many different audiences (although our services are predominately targeted at Darlington residents). Our other websites have more specific target audiences: for example, DLD Live is specifically aimed at people with learning disabilities and their carers whilst Local Motion is aimed at people who use/have an interest in using sustainable transport within Darlington.
This accessibility policy is aimed at improving access to our websites for the following groups:
- sensory - those with any level of visual and/or hearing impairments
- mobility - those unable to use a mouse, similar pointing devices and or standard keyboards
- cognitive - those unable to either focus, concentrate or fully understand certain words
There are some groups of people who may experience one or more of the above problems; for example, older people who may experience both sensory impairments and mobility problems.
We recognise that it is not just disabled people who are affected by accessibility and our policy also includes people who:
- surf the web using mobile devices
- use systems with slower internet connections
- don't speak or understand English fluently
- are not confident using computers and require easy to use systems
Images and ALT text
We use a variety of images on this website. Not only do they make the website look more exciting, but they are helpful to those who may not be able to understand the language used on this site, for example those who speak English as a second language or who have learning difficulties.
We have made the images as small in size as possible, so that they do not cause pages to take a long time to load.
We have tried to not use animations and flashing images on the website, as these images may cause problems for people with epilepsy and attention-deficit disorders.
We have aimed to ensure that all images have appropriate ALT text – this is so visually impaired web users, or those who choose not to have images displayed on the website can still find out what an image is meant to show.
If you are using Internet Explorer, you can view the ALT text for an image by moving your mouse over it.
We have set up our tables to have relative width - that way they will resize themselves to fit your browser so you don't have to scroll to view them.
We will only use tables on the site when they are the most appropriate way of presenting content and will ensure that they are coded correctly so that people using assistive technologies such as screen readers can access them.
Text size and headings
We have set the majority of text on the website to be relative, so you can make it bigger or smaller if you need to.
You can resize text on all browsers by pressing CTRL and rolling your mousewheel.
We use headings on our web pages. Not only do headings break up text and make it easier to read, but it is also useful to people using screen readers who will be able to easily navigate between headings.
A style sheet is what we use on this website to determine how it looks. You can turn off the style sheet in your browser; this removes background images and makes the text black on a white background. You can then replace the style sheet with your own custom style sheet if required.
You can turn off the style sheet on this website (and also on any other websites you visit) by doing the following:
- Internet Explorer: Select the page menu which is on the right of the taskbar. Go to style and select no style.
- Firefox: Go to view in your browser menu and select page style. Select no style.
- Chrome: Unfortunately you cannot replace a style sheet in Chrome.
- Safari: Unfortunately you cannot remove a style sheet in Safari, only replace it
- Opera: Go to view in your browser menu and select style. Select user mode. Alternatively you can press ALT and P.
Audio and video
We have added videos and audio onto the website, in order to make the site more interactive.
We have ensured that videos which are on the website do not start up automatically when a page is loaded.
All videos with speech have transcripts or will be captioned.
There are elements of www.darlington.gov.uk which can be customised to give a unique user experience.
- My Darlington+ can provide ward, councillor and refuse/recycling collection by entering a postcode. Users can also view an events feed containing events that they are interested in.
- Web users can opt to use a 'High Contrast' version of the website (the link is available at the top of the website, above the menu) and choose a different colour scheme (the link is available by clicking on the cog in the menu at the top of the page).
Conformance with web and online accessibility standards
We aim to ensure that content on the Darlington Borough Council websites conforms to best practice web and accessibility standards and guidelines published by the:
- BS 8878 (this replaces PAS 78)
- Equality Act 2010 (this replaces the Disability Discrimination Act)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. We are aiming for AA (double-A) compliance.
Our websites are optimised to work in the latest versions of: Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer.
We are aware that some website users use other less common browsers. We have taken steps to ensure that the website is accessible in these browsers, although it may look slightly different in appearance.
We are often required to publish content on our websites on a particular time or date. As a temporary measure, an inaccessible version of time-critical content may need to be published to meet deadlines. We will publish an accessible version of the content as soon as it is reasonably possible to do so.
Online forms (eForms)
To protect your personal information, all of our forms have an automatic time-out after 20 minutes. This means that if there is no browser activity during a 20 minute period, all of the information that you have previously entered into the form will be lost. You can save the form by clicking on the 'complete later' button at the bottom of a form. There may also be an alternative version of the form you can use.
We use social media in order to promote information and events to a wider audience.
Some of these social networks may not be compatible with assistive technologies. However; as technology advances, accessible version of social networks are becoming increasingly available.
All videos that contain speech will either have a transcript or captions. You will need to download Flash in order to view any of our videos, either embedded into our website or our YouTube channel.
Book of Remembrance
The online Book of Remembrance uses Flash. It has been created to be as accessible as possible, however alternative means of viewing the Book of Remembrance are stated.
Benefits and room calculator
We currently use Siteimprove to continually monitor our websites for accessibility and usability errors such as:
- broken links
- incorrectly used headings
- non-contextual/missing alt text
- depreciated code
- spelling errors
We are aware that automated compliance testing does not resolve all accessibility issues. The web team also monitor new/updated web pages and have a thorough training programme in order to ensure that all web editors are knowledgeable about accessibility and why it is so important.
We aim to provide appropriate channels of communication for feedback about accessibility. Contact details are provided on the majority of pages, and there is also a 'rate this page' link which allows users to submit an online form with any accessibility issues they may have.