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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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