Skip to Main Content
Warning!

This browser is not supported by the Playbook.

You should switch to a supported browser. Learn more

Toolkit
Toolkit

Access Findings Overview

When EY Intuitive assessed sites for Access, the team looked at alternative methods for navigating the site through keyboard and screen reader use (i.e., Accessibility); how help was provided to users (i.e., User Support); how sites performed on smaller screens (i.e., Mobile Friendly); and how others connected to the sites (i.e., Community Engagement). Please see the full report for a complete discussion of [content/access/design –depends on the section] findings.

Accessibility

Accessibility considers how the site supports alternate ways of accessing and interacting with information (e.g., with a keyboard instead of a mouse or trackpad).

Approach:

  • EY Intuitive used automated tools to check sites against accessibility standards.
  • The team manually reviewed form field entry using screen reader software, checked for closed captioning for audio/media, and looked at tab order (a feature that makes sites accessible to users who navigate with keyboards).

Some of the criteria for Accessibility included:

  • Uses descriptive alternate text (or backup text) for images.
  • Input fields are accessible for users who navigate the Web with assistive technologies.
  • Selected page elements have an obvious focus state to support navigation by keyboard.

Key Findings:

  • Most sites satisfied requirements for providing alternate methods to consume content (e.g., watching a video with closed captioning), but did not adequately support alternate methods for interacting with it (e.g., filling out a form like "Contact Us" with a screen reader).
  • Just over half of the website managers reported that they were not sure which level of accessibility their sites aimed to achieve. The UX Assessment revealed that only 1 out of 53 sites fully met Section 508 accessibility guidelines, a common benchmark for evaluating the inclusiveness of a site's design.
  • Modified DLAW and DLAW sites performed better than other types of sites in this focus area.

Recommendations:

  1. At a minimum, meet Section 508 guidelines for web accessibility, but work towards achieving higher standards (i.e., WCAG 2.0 AA Guidelines).
  2. Provide equal access for users who navigate by keyboard.
  3. Improve contrast ratios to minimize eye strain.
  4. Develop input fields with assistive technologies in mind (e.g., users who require a screen reader or navigate with a keyboard should be able to navigate the site and fill out forms).

Tools and Resources to Consider

Representative tools and resources to help with Accessibility include:


User Support

User Support considers how the site handles help, alerts, messaging and page load speeds.

Approach

  • EY Intuitive assessed User Support criteria using a combination of automated tools and manual tests for testing page load speed on both desktop and mobile and to check heading levels.
  • The team manually tested other aspects of User Support such as visibility and quality of help and clarity, effectiveness, and timeliness of error notifications.

Some of the criteria for User Support included:

  • Generates clear, actionable, and timely error notifications.
  • Provides access to help through in-line/contextual help (e.g., an in-line glossary or live chat feature), a help section (when appropriate), and/or FAQs and other support.
  • Uses appropriate heading tags: H1 is the first heading level and all heading tags follow a sequential, logical structure that reflects the page layout.

Key Findings

  • Most sites supported users with consistent link descriptions and error notifications.
  • Sites did not provide adequate help to facilitate users' understanding of the site architecture. This limits a user's ability to access needed information and resources quickly.
  • Many sites did not provide either contextual or dedicated help.
  • Error notifications, although usually generated, did not provide actionable advice for users.

Recommendations

  1. Check that heading tags (i.e., H1, H2, etc.) reflect layout of the page.
  2. Provide contextual help and/or dynamic site help pages.
  3. Prevent errors by using the right form field type and launching the correct keyboard for mobile device visitors.
  4. If errors cannot be prevented, provide clear & actionable error messaging that notifies an error exists and exactly how to resolve it.

Tools and Resources to Consider

  • Search for a free online page speed and performance optimization tool to check page load speed on desktop and mobile experiences.
  • Reference pattern libraries such as pttrns for design inspiration.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile friendly is the extent to which sites support varying screen sizes, particularly smaller, smartphone screens.

Approach

  • EY Intuitive first assessed how each site provided access on mobile devices (e.g., adaptive, responsive, etc.).
  • The team then used a mix of automated tools and manual procedures to determine if the the mobile sites supported key workflows and how effective the sites components (e.g., links and buttons) were designed for touch interaction.

Some of the criteria for Mobile Friendly included:

  • Key workflows is easy to find and use on mobile devices).
  • Links and buttons are designed for touch interaction (also called touch target or tap target).

Key Findings

  • Most sites were mobile friendly in some capacity. Sites either had a dedicated mobile (m.dot) site, or a responsive/adaptive site.
  • The tapping area dedicated to objects and content on a mobile webpage (i.e., tap target size) was smaller than necessary for many of the mobile experiences.
  • None of the sites met minimum page speed load standards on mobile.

Recommendations

  1. Make sites available to, and function properly for, users on a variety of viewports, including mobile, tablet, and desktop.
  2. Consider mobile design in tandem with desktop design, rather than designing for desktop and trying to scale down to mobile.
  3. Increase tap target size so that users can access all links and buttons in the mobile experience.
  4. For m.dot sites: provide a link to the desktop version to ensure users can access all site content, if needed.

Tools and Resources to Consider

  • Consult a mobile design pattern library, such as pttrns, for design inspiration for elements like navigation, search, filters, libraries, etc.
  • Consider free online performance optimization tools to detect if certain touch targets (e.g., buttons, links, or form fields) are too small or too close for a user to easily tap on a touch screen.
  • View the Demos of the design concepts in this site to see how they render on mobile screens.

Community Engagement

Community engagement considers how a site connects with users (e.g., feedback, SEO) and how site managers engage with other site managers and legal organizations across the network.

Approach

  • EY Intuitive asked website managers with whom they collaborated in the legal aid community (e.g. courts, public libraries, etc.) and what mechanisms they used to collect and incorporate user feedback.
  • EY Intuitive used an automated tool to assess SEO (search engine optimization). The tool provided guidance on how well a site could be found through organic search.

Some of the criteria for Community Engagement included:

  • Site has a mechanism to collect and incorporate user feedback.
  • Site managers collaborate with a variety of organizations in the legal aid community.
  • Uses meaningful, appropriate page titles, meta descriptions, heading tags, and sitemaps to increase SEO.

Key Findings

  • Most website managers indicated that they collaborated with other legal organizations to share practices, create content, and sometimes leverage code in order to add features to their sites (particularly for sites that use Drupal).
  • Most sites did not meet the minimal guidelines for SEO (only 8% met the criteria).
  • Website managers reported using passive approaches to connect with their site visitors, such as onsite surveys and website analytics.

Recommendations

  1. Elicit feedback from users regularly using a combination of direct and indirect methods. Sites that obtain feedback from end users will be better prepared and informed to make user-centered design decisions.
  2. Continue to collaborate with local courts and legal organizations. Look for opportunities to streamline and reuse content across the network when appropriate.
  3. From a technical perspective, adopt leading techniques for SEO (e.g., decrease page title length, use short meta descriptions, use tags to distinguish headings from body content, and include a site map).

Tools and Resources to Consider

Representative tools and resources to help with Community Engagement include: