Auditing and accrediting Western Power Distribution's website

Van driving on road next to field

Western Power Distribution wanted to improve the accessibility of its website, and contacted AbilityNet to help with the process.

"Through working with AbilityNet, we first had a site-wide accessibility audit to assess the ways in which we did and didn’t meet the industry benchmark for accessibility. We were then given a timeframe to consult with our developers and solve these issues, before another site-wide audit and finally an accreditation," says Emma Vincent, Digital Communications Officer, Western Power Distribution.

Western Power Distribution audits its website on an annual basis, and so are continually looking to improve its performance in all areas.

"We serve more than 1.9 million Priority Service customers, so we need to ensure our website is accessible to all customers, especially for those to whom a power cut might be particularly worrying," says Emma.

Western Power Distribution logo - Serving the Midlands, South West and Wales

Working with AbilityNet's accessibility experts

"We had a very positive experience with AbilityNet’s online accessibility service from start to finish," says Emma.

"The helpful team worked with us every step of the way to help us improve our offering. Working together was beneficial for us; the team helped us navigate the sometimes complicated world of website accessibility with confidence. We found that the team were always on hand if we had any queries, and all issues were helpfully explained in detail for our developers," Emma continues.

Best practice with images

One of the ways in which the service helped Western Power Distribution better understand the areas of its website it needed to focus on was through highlighting the importance of best practice regarding the use of imagery, especially through adding alt text tags.

With some alt text tags missing across the site, screen readers were unable to pick up images on some pages which meant important information could have been missed by customers. "Imagery was thus a big issue for us, so going forward it’s something we now have a protocol for, which includes labelling all new images appropriately for screen readers," says Emma.

Following on from this, the company has changed all standards across the back end of the website to ensure colours and formatting are accessible from the beginning.

Future planning

"In terms of future development, we are constantly striving for accessibility improvements and regular maintenance of our current offerings," says Emma.

"AbilityNet were extremely helpful and always on hand for issues. I would highly recommend AbilityNet. As a company Western Power Distribution serves nearly 8 million customers so it’s vital that we ensure anything we put out there can be accessed easily by all. AbilityNet helped us to consider that and worked with us to achieve it," she continues.

Speak to our experts

AbilityNet offers tailored accessibility and usability support to clients from all sectors, including further and higher education accessibility support packages.

Speak to our experts about your project and we will advise on a bespoke accessibility strategy to meet your specific requirements.