The NHS is for everyone, so your GP website design needs to be accessible for everyone too, your staff and your patients. If your website is not accessible to everyone who needs it, you may be breaking the 2010 Equality Act. So, it is time to update your GP practice website design to meet accessibility standards.
Why is an updated GP practice website design important?
It is important because public sector websites, such as GP practice websites, must meet accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement. In the UK, one in five people have a disability of some kind, whether temporary or permanent, and an old website built five years ago may not meet their needs. You need to think about how people with disabilities will be able to access your services. Would text-to-voice or magnifying software work?
GPs’ phone lines have been alarmingly busy since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, as most services are being provided digitally, and queries and appointments are dealt with by phone. But can your patients find all the information they need on your website, and is it accessible to them? If not, they will have to call your practice. But patients with certain disabilities may not be able to do this.
Meeting the requirements
NHS digital services must meet at least level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and aim for AAA where possible. This means that your GP website design must have the following qualities.
Users must be able to recognise and use the services you provide with the senses that are available to them. For example, websites must use colours that show up against other background colours and must work well with assistive technologies.
Users must be able to find the content they need, regardless of how they access your website.
To have an accessible website, you need to make sure that the text is readable and understandable, including when translated using assistive technologies like text-to-voice. You must use clear, simple language, providing definitions when needed and spelling out abbreviations.
An old website might use outdated coding that isn’t compatible with assistive technologies. This means that some assistive technologies may not be able to interpret your website.
So take that next step towards helping your practice and your patients by updating your GP website design. Don’t worry: if you don’t have the time or you are not sure how to do it, PrimaryWeb can provide you with NHS-designed accessible website templates for your GP practice, making your website suitable for all. We ensure that our NHS GP website templates comply with the latest WCAG website accessibility guidelines for disabled and visually impaired users to be in line with the 2010 Equality Act.
Designed by the NHS for the NHS – PrimaryWeb