Mouchel : Accessing accessibility

A universal toolset provides well-implemented accessibility options.

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The Site

Mouchel, a UK-based infrastructure services group, features a suite of highly visible accessibility tools across its site. Mouchel’s site template is topped by a utilities string offering seven options. Three are standards: Contact Us, Site Map and Print Page. The remaining four are accessibility tools: Text Only, text size (a choice of three indicated by a gradated letter ‘A’), Access Keys, which leads to an Accessibility Statement that sets out how the site can be navigated with the keyboard alone, and Colour Contrast. The latter offers four colour-coded buttons that allow users to display the site in different colour schemes; for example, with side bars reversed out on black and a lilac background tint. The Accessibility Statement is additionally available from the ‘house-keeping’ links at the foot of all pages.

The Takeaway

Many sites offer an accessibility tool or two that allow some aspects of the browsing experience to be improved to suit certain disabilities. Mouchel’s effort is particularly effective thanks to its range and its universal prominence and availability. Users do not have to navigate to a dedicated page to change settings and can instead adapt the browsing experience at any time and anywhere on the site. Those who have difficulty using a mouse are also catered for as ‘tabbing’ allows the accessibility options to be immediately accessed using the keyboard alone. While the Test Size tool is a fairly common universal element nowadays, the Colour Contrast tool is less so, and its range of four settings is a useful addition for the partially sighted or colour blind. The tools are also well implemented. For example, having clicked Text Only, a clear ‘Back to Full Site’ link is then displayed, allowing users to quickly return without using the browser’s back button. The Access Keys page could, however, benefit from a clear table showing which each browser uses as its access keys.
First published 06 December, 2011
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