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Socitm announces new accessibility partner

Socitm is delighted to announce it is now working with Silktide to evaluate the accessibility and quality of public sector websites.

This partnership supersedes the previous relationship with Sitemorse and provides corporate members and BetterConnected+ subscribers with a more comprehensive, detailed and user-friendly service, helping them to meet the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (WCAG 2.1.) Accessibility Regulations 2018 more easily.

All UK public sector websites and apps are required to meet new standards for accessibility by September 2020, yet by the end of 2019 fewer than 10% are ready. Silktide reports will help the sector measure how compliant their websites are now and identify prioritised recommendations for how to improve more thoroughly than ever before.

Silktide analyses 125 web pages and 25 PDFs of primary websites, considerably more than previously. ‘Highest level’ pages are scrutinised first, giving a fairer representation of the most crucial website components. Websites are now also tested on a mobile device. This makes it possible to detect layout and accessibility issues that are a key requirement for WCAG 2.1.

Other new benefits include a check highlighting potential spelling errors and more detailed recommendations, often accompanied by user-friendly educational video content and other helpful resources. From February 2020, Silktide will provide monthly reports. These are completely cost free to members. Sitemorse reports were issued quarterly and all bar Q1 incurred an additional fee.

Further improvements include the removal of subjective and superfluous checks such as ‘do not use full stops within abbreviations’. Scoring will also now be much fairer, more relevant and is now measured out of 100 instead of the previous 10.

The new partnership also means that organisations who scored poorly will not be named publicly. Silktide only ranks the highest 30 performing websites and then lists the rest alphabetically.

Oliver Emberton, managing director of Silktide, said: “As Tim Berners Lee observed, ‘The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.’ Through our partnership with Socitm we will help more of the UK public sector deliver on this vision of websites that are accessible to all.”

About Socitm: Socitm is the society for innovation, technology and modernisation. It is the network for professionals who are shaping and delivering public services. Established for over 30 years, Socitm continues to challenge convention, inspire change and power progress.

About Silktide: Silktide is a web intelligence company headquartered in the UK. It makes software to help people understand and improve their websites. Its fresh, holistic and user-centric approach adds greater value to the process of identify problems, managing tasks and measuring performance.