to create an upgraded web site for DCLS
The then existing site had good content but was difficult to update, not responsive (for mobile devices) and was not accessible (for disabled people using web readers).
EASY UPDATES & INDEPENDENCE
I chose to create a WordPress based site because it is very easy to update and is the most widely used Content Management System. I always tell my clients that if something should happen to me (or maybe they don’t like me anymore), having a WordPress site means they will be able to find a replacement web developer quickly and easily. This gives the client control and independence.
No special software is required, you can update the site using a web browser. Most maintenance and updating tasks can be fulfilled using a phone, tablet or desktop computer.
Because more people use the internet with mobile devices than desktop, we chose to prioritise this aspect. A site that detects which device you are using, and changes accordingly, is referred to as responsive.
This site has been designed to be responsive and also maintain its Accessibility features.
You can easily test this feature on your desktop by dragging your browser to resize it. As it hits the tablet and phone sizes, you will see it automatically change.
Creating an accessible web site is a very exacting task. Accessibility code changes often because of continuous technology changes. It is very difficult to create an aesthetically pleasing site that also complies with the W3C International guidelines.
There are many different levels of Accessibility – the DCLS site complies with WCAG 2.0 (Level AA)
If you click on the WCAG 2.0 (Level AA) link and submit the site for checking you will see that the DCLS site gets the Green ‘Congratulations! No known problems‘ message. This is very hard to achieve.
You will notice that there are zero ‘Likey Problems‘ but many ‘Potential Problems‘.
Potential problems include things which W3C cannot check automatically – the human eye needs to make that evaluation (such as whether you used colour only to explain something – this would be a problem for colour blind people). So items under this category will still be flagged for checking even if your site fully complies.
Compliance for this site will need to be checked periodically because of the nature of continually changing technology.
RESIZE TEXT ON EACH PAGE
There is a resize-text icon at the top of each page. You can make text larger or smaller. The size you choose is saved as a cookie for 30 days.
ACCESSIBLE FACT SHEETS
The DCLS Fact sheets are an important feature of the web site.
In order for the Fact sheets to be accessible, we had to go back to the original Word documents and rework the layout. We also had to be logical in the setting out, using hierarchical features such as Title, Heading 1, Heading 2 etc. This makes it possible for someone to skim the document using an electronic document reader because the main headings and sub-text is set out logically.
The pdf files then carried forward the same logic and, after a few tweaks, they are also now accessible.
The pdf files are loaded in two ways.
- Firstly we have included a link to the accessible PDF file.
- Secondly we have embedded the file so that people can read it without having to download the document. The program we have used is responsive and works on mobile platforms (such as phones) as well as desktops.
If you use a document reader or other technology to assist you with accessing web sites, we would love to know how well the site works for you. There may be things we did not consider or you may be excited about how easy the site is to navigate. All feedback is very welcome.
I created a maintenance manual for DCLS staff so that they can use it for updating the site, adding Fact Sheets, adding Job Vacancies, doing backups, viewing statistics etc. The manual is fully customised for DCLS.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
I designed this web site whilst on the road. The site was created whilst I was in Taiwan and Japan so could be branded ‘Made in Taiwan’ or ‘Made in Japan’. After several redrafts and tweaking (done in Alice Springs), the site was ready for launch. I travelled to Darwin to deliver training for DCLS staff.
The site was launched whilst I was in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Being a web designer has enabled me to have a location independent business and I thank my clients for having the vision and flexibility to trust me with their site.
Since 2010, I have worked in my home town of Alice Springs for blocks of 12 weeks punctuated by 4-8 weeks working overseas.