- Client Contact:
- Digital Marketing Manager
Fellowship was selected to design and build an accessible and inclusive website for the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board. Incorporating easy accessibility for a wide range of users was a crucial element of the design.
To create a fully accessible website for NHS staff, patients, and local residents which:
- acts as a central hub for local health services
- boosts engagement with local residents
- provides full transparency on NHS spending
- enables targeted awareness campaigns focusing on local healthcare needs
Accessibility is key
Meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) WCAG 2.1 Level AA was a key requirement.
This ensures content is accessible to people with a wide range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities. Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. It supports social inclusion and improves overall user experience and satisfaction.
Achieving WCAG 2.1 Level AA.
WCAG sorts their guidelines into the following categories: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
When designing and developing the site we had to ensure we considered and implemented solutions that met all four categories.
Designing and Developing for WCAG 2.1 Level AA.
In simple terms this includes:
- typography – font choice, colour, thickness and line spacing
- colour – contrast ratios & brightness
- navigation – layout, keyboard navigation, skip navigation, touch navigation and focus states
- link styling and Aria labelling
- forms – labelling, action buttons and error handling
- images – caption text and alt text
- video interaction – transcripts and audio described alternatives
- download of files – Easy Read option
Different User Personas
The website needs to cater for multiple user types, each with their own objectives:
- Patients & residents – view information about specific services, opening hours, contact details, raise a complaint and use ‘find a service’ tools.
- GPs, clinicians & health workers – searching for clinical guidelines, diagnostic tools, and other internal resources.
- Alliance partners – keeping up to date with ICB news and events.
- Journalists – access press releases and learn more about how services are managed. As well as results and statistics that are required by law to be publicly available.
- The Communications Team – Deliver value for the taxpayer by allowing content to be created in a flexible and customisable way, without the need for a developer.
The goal of this stage was to assess users’ experiences of the existing websites.
We explored how easy it was for them to achieve their goals when they visit, identify any pain points and to understand things they think the sites do particularly well. User testing was split into three stages:
- a broad user survey with workshop sessions
- recorded sessions with individuals from specific user groups, given a set of specific tasks to accomplish
- a survey and set of tests on the prototype of the new site
Our solutions combine all accessibility criteria with features designed to deliver for each user persona:
- content anchors
- news and event areas
- alliance area postcode lookup widget
- GP locator widget
Content authoring and approval system combined with content alerts.
Approved contributors can make changes to the site, pending approval by a site manager. Site Managers can also assign content to a nominated team member. If their content has not been updated for six months, they receive an email alert reminding them to refresh the content.
Restricted content system and healthcare professionals area with a user approval system.
We created a specific area for healthcare professionals to distinguish content for industry professionals from public facing content. Within this area it’s possible for content creators to classify items as restricted. These can only be seen by users with a pre-approved account.
A powerful sitewide search.
Finding content quickly is important. Our solution returns results in a simple list. Each result clearly highlights its resource type (public, healthcare professionals etc) and a prompt to login if required. Advanced filtering allows users to further define what they are looking for.
Full screen focused navigation menus.
With a large amount of content the site needs to be well organised and presented. Importantly, the menu needs to be fully keyboard accessible.
Our three column, full page menu allows users to find what they are looking for quickly. The menu responds to device viewport dimensions and adjusts layout accordingly.
We are extremely proud to have created a website which will help the Suffolk and North East Essex ICB have a positive effect on the lives and wellbeing of everyone within our community.
Additionally, the content authoring and approval systems have saved the communications team significant admin time. The site is under final review and due to be awarded World Wide Web Consortium WCAG 2.1 Level AA for accessibility.
View the website here.
Sarah Colley Digital Marketing Manager, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB)
You guys have been legends from start to finish, I’m so pleased with the final product. Massive thanks to you all, you’re a fab bunch to work with.