Paerangi website on tablet in vertical view


Making information accessible to everyone

The Paerangi website is a non-profit, Māori-led forum where the disability community in New Zealand can find information about COVID-19. It offers information in te reo Māori, English, Easy Read, sign language, and audio format.

Check out the Paerangi website

The website was a collaboration between:

  • Te Roopu Waiora — a support organisation founded and governed by whānau hauā (the disabled community)
  • Te Kotahi a Tāmaki — a group of marae in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland)
  • Te Ohonga — a network of kaumātua (elders) and Māori Advisors supporting the health sector.
Paerangi screenshots showing Maori language features
The Paerangi site can be viewed in English or Te Reo Māori, and includes sign language videos for most of the article content.

The Paerangi team wanted users to be able to access the website in a way that met their specific needs. To optimise accessibility for an audience with varied needs, the site had to be simple and fast. Modern websites tend to rely heavily on JavaScript, which can slow pages down, but we managed to use JavaScript in a way that speeds pages up without sacrificing functionality.

Keeping the audience’s unique requirements in mind while designing the website

We developed the website to be highly accessible and meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. This included optimising the site for users who access the content only using a keyboard, or using a screen reader (software that reads text to you). We also invited them to test the site to ensure it met their needs.

All the colours on the site meet WCAG standards, meaning colours contrast well for visually impaired and colour-blind users.

The page hierarchy and layout is simple and intuitive, with plenty of space to ensure visual connections between different sections. The navigation stays the same on every page, and provides links on each page that clearly show users where they are in the site.

Considered content hierarchy and simple and intuitive navigational order allows for ease of use and a fully accessible site.

Most of the articles include sign language videos. Users can also contact Paerangi through NZ Relay, a service which helps people with hearing, speech, and other impairments communicate with others. When users submit videos of themselves signing, an interpreter translates and voices their message to the recipient, and signs the reply back to them.

Some of the accessibility features of the Paerangi website: the ability to set accessibility preferences, including scroll buttons, sign language videos and a dark mode option.

Fitting accessible design features seamlessly into the experience of using the Paerangi site

The site’s accessibility features include:

  • sign language videos
  • high-contrast mode and large fonts to help users with visual impairments
  • larger, clickable buttons and scrolling buttons for users with limited hand movement
  • a dark mode option for users who prefer inverted colours.

When the user selects their preference, the content order of each page changes. The website saves these preferences for the user’s next visit.

Screenshot showing 100% Accessibility rating achieved during testing
This site build had us seeking optimal accessibility for the end-users, so 100 in a Lighthouse accessibility test hit the spot.

Working with a panel of Paerangi members to ensure we met their requirements

As we developed the website, we met with a panel of Paerangi members for their feedback on how easy the site was to use and any issues they encountered. The panel included people who were vision impaired, physically impaired, hearing impaired, and those with learning difficulties.

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