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Mission 1: digital services

Mission 1 digital services is focused on the delivery of public services in Wales, and designing them around user needs. A key supporting element of this mission is the role of the Centre for Digital Public Services (CDPS). The Centre has been developing a set of Digital Service Standards that are common across all public service organisations in Wales. The Standards will support and embed user-centred service design and deliver better services and outcomes for users.

Mission 2: digital inclusion

Mission 2 digital inclusion discusses alternative ways of accessing public services: “For people who cannot, or decide not to, participate digitally, we will continue to apply the principles of user-centered design so that there are alternative ways to access public services in Wales. The alternative access routes will be as good as those offered online.”

Our future policy will continue to build on the recognised need to support everyone to gain the motivation, confidence and skills in order to make informed decisions and choose how they participate in, and make the most of, our increasingly digital world. For those who cannot, or decide not to participate digitally, we must ensure alternative ways to access services remain. Digital needs to be seen as an approach to solving problems based on user needs and wants, rather than technology alone being the solution. We as Welsh Government will work to ensure that no citizen is left behind as we embrace a digital first approach and digital inclusion will be at the heart of all we deliver.

Digital services, websites and apps need to be accessible to everyone, including users with impairments to their:

  • vision - like severely sight impaired (blind), sight impaired (partially sighted) or colour blind people
  • hearing - like people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • mobility - like those who find it difficult to use a mouse or keyboard
  • thinking and understanding - like people with dyslexia, autism or learning difficulties

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Welsh Government has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, which is based on 4 design principles:

  1. perceivable
  2. operable
  3. understandable
  4. robust

By focusing on principles, not technology, we will consider the need to think about the different ways that people interact with content.

Principle 1 and elements of Principle 4 are applicable to the support materials surrounding the digital system, Principle 2, 3 and elements of Principle 4 are more system specific

Principle 1: perceivable

To meet WCAG 2.1 Principle 1: perceivable (on we will make sure users can recognise and use the service with the senses that are available to them, such as:

  • provide text alternatives (‘alt text’) for non-text content
  • provide transcripts for audio and video
  • provide captions for video
  • make sure content is structured logically and can be navigated and read by a screen reader - this also helps if stylesheets are disabled
  • use text colours that show up clearly against the background colour
  • make sure every feature can be used when text size is increased by 200% and that content reflows to a single column when it’s increased by 400%
  • make sure your service is responsive - for example to the user’s device, page orientation and font size they like to use
  • make sure your service works well with assistive technologies - for example, important messages are marked up in a way that the screen readers knows they’re important

Principle 2: operable

To meet WCAG 2.1 Principle 2: operable (on, we will make sure users can find and use content, regardless of how they choose to access it (for example, using a keyboard or voice commands), such as:

  • make sure everything works for keyboard-only users
  • let people play, pause and stop any moving content
  • not use blinking or flashing content - or let the user disable animations
  • provide a ‘skip to content’ link
  • use descriptive titles for pages and frames
  • make sure users can move through content in a way that makes sense
  • use descriptive links so users know where a link will take them, or what downloadable linked content is
  • use meaningful headings and labels, making sure that any accessible labels match or closely resemble the label you’re using in the interface
  • make it easy for keyboard users to see the item their keyboard or assistive technology is currently focused on - this is known as ‘active focus’
  • only use things like mouse events or dynamic interactions (like swiping or pinching) when they’re strictly necessary - or let the user disable them and interact with the interface in a different way
  • make it easy for users to disable and change shortcut keys

Principle 3: understandable

To meet WCAG 2.1 Principle 3: understandable (on, we will make sure people can understand the content and how the service works, such as:

  • use plain English (on GOV.UK)/Welsh
  • keep sentences short
  • not use words and phrases that people won’t recognise - or provide an explanation if you can’t avoid it
  • explain all abbreviations and acronyms, unless they are well known and in common use - for example UK, EU, VAT
  • make it clear what language the content is written in, and indicate if this changes
  • make sure features look consistent and behave in predictable ways
  • make sure all form fields have visible and meaningful labels - and that they’re marked up properly
  • make it easy for people to identify and correct errors in forms in accordance with best practice for form design as set out in the GOV.UK Design System (on GOV.UK)

Principle 4: robust

To meet WCAG 2.1 Principle 4: robust (on, we will make sure content can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents (including reasonably outdated, current and anticipated browsers and assistive technologies), such as:

  • use valid HTML so user agents, including assistive technologies, can accurately interpret and parse content
  • make sure your code lets assistive technologies know what every user interface component is for, what state it’s currently in and if it changes
  • make sure important status messages or modal dialogs are marked up in a way that informs user of their presence and purpose, and lets them interact with them using their assistive technology
  • lets the user return to what they were doing after they’ve interacted with the status message or modal input