Elderly man smiling whilst looking at a lap top.

Training on how to create accessible content at source

Hart District Council are working hard to enhance the accessibility of their website. They recently asked SDS to help them with this by providing digital accessibility training for their content editors.

Introducing digital accessibility

In the first 45 min introductory training session we discussed what digital accessibility is ‘the process of ensuring that digital resources are available to the widest possible audience, regardless of an individual’s ability or impairment’.

Together we explored the five different disability groups and some of the challenges people can face when accessing content and documents online.

Icons of the five disability groups: vision, hearing, motor skills, cognitive, speech.

The demonstration of a screen reader struggling through a council document as well as this clip of Adi from Ability Net attempting to book a flight really brought the importance of digital accessibility to life.

We finished by looking at the accessibility regulations and what everyone needs to be doing to make sure our information is reaching the widest possible audience.

Crafting accessible documents: The Nuts and Bolts

Of course, it is always better for content to be presented as a web page rather than in an online document. But if you must publish a document, it is important this is accessible.

In our second 45 min session we honed in on five tips for creating accessible documents right from source, using MS word. This session included demonstrations of how to:

  • Assign meaningful titles
  • Use heading styles correctly
  • Create clean spacing without having blanks
  • Use alt text for images and charts
  • Format tables without merged cells


Heading style ribbon in MS Word

Mending accessibility woes with Adobe Acrobat Pro

Ideally all documents would be born accessible, but we know that this isn’t always the case.

In this 90-minute interactive session we worked through some of Hart District Council’s own documents. Armed with Adobe Acrobat Pro we explored some of the common issues that plague PDFs and worked out how to fix them.

Together we tackled heading structures, logical reading order and resolved issues such as titles, language, alt text, table headers, artifacts, empty tags, moving tags and saving.

Dedicated session for the Finance Team

The Hart District Council Finance team had some specific queries about accessibility with Excel and so we facilitated an hour ‘surgery session’ to address their documents.

From evading merged cell headaches to selecting fonts and colours that optimise accessibility, we left no stone unturned. To top it off, we discussed how to create Word and Excel templates that pave the way for more inclusive finance reports.

Cultivating an accessible culture

Hart District council know that creating a culture of accessibility needs commitment from the top. That is why they asked us to extend our training to their management team, equipping them with an introduction to accessibility.

The ripple effect is now in full force as our introduction to digital accessibility e-learning course is being embraced by staff across the organisation, meaning more and more people are aware of how important accessibility is.

Join the accessibility journey

We are here to help you enhance the accessibility of your websites. Whether you’re seeking live workshops, remote sessions, or the convenience of e-learning, we’ve got you covered, just get in touch.