Web accessibility is an area of importance for Aston Villa and we are committed to ensuring that the content and features served via our digital channels are accessible to disabled and elderly people, as reasonably as possible.
As well as providing significant improvements on the previous iteration of the avfc.co.uk website by engaging with fans in numerous focus groups, we have aimed to deliver a high level of usability for our entire audience, following best-practice accessibility guidelines.
Screen readers and other assistive technologies generally do a good job of interpreting invalid HTML, but by ensuring that each webpage has a recognized standard Doctype, the risk of problems arising can be kept to a minimum.
Validation is carried out through the W3C Markup Validation Service, and the website is built to ensure conformance to Level A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
Whilst we aim to provide the best possible experience for every web user accessing our website(s) - allowing them to choose the software and devices which work best for them – users who make use of older operating systems and older web browsers, may not receive the full, intended experience on avfc.co.uk. With the development of HTML5, CSS3 and other progressive web technologies, users are encouraged to install and use the latest versions of their chosen web browser, in order to benefit from enhanced features and experiences. Our technology partners, together with the club, maintain full support for the following browsers:
- Internet Explorer 10+
- Mozilla Firefox*
- Google Chrome*
- Mac OSX
- Mozilla Firefox*
- Google Chrome*
- iOS (8.x)
- Android (4.4+)
- Windows Phone (8.x+)
*latest stable version at point of development.
Users not making use of the latest browsers may have elements of their web experience gracefully degraded (for example, transitions may not be as fluid) but there are also certain elements within the website which may not function at all (ie., AVTV) unless the latest, supported browsers are used.
Avfc.co.uk is built on the Sitecore 8 platform. Whilst the platform has the capability, the club does not currently provide multi-lingual content through the website. However, the club continues to support various multilingual social media accounts, including Sina Weibo, Youku and WeChat (Chinese), and Twitter and Facebook accounts for our Indonesian fan base.
Document titles help users orientate themselves within a website. The document <title></title> element content is often the first thing a speech output use will hear and this will therefore provide confirmation of what page they are viewing. The document title will frequently be the same as the main <h1></h1> tag, and should describe the primary content held within the document.
The avfc.co.uk website makes use of a number of HTML templates. Each template has been built to make use of various HTML tags/elements. Examples include, but are not limited to, the <main></main> element, <article></article> element and <blockquote></blockquote> elements.
The primary purpose of the <main></main> element is to map ARIA’s landmark role main to an element in HTML. This helps screen readers and other assistive technologies understand where the main content begins. All web page templates on avfc.co.uk have been built with this tag present.
The <article></article> element is used to represent a component of a page that consists of a self-contained composition in a document, page or site and that is intended to be independently distributable or reusable, eg, in syndication.
Various other HTML elements and tags have been used in the construction of the templates (including <h1></h1>, <h2></h2>, <h3></h3> etc tags), all of which help screen readers define what content it is that they are accessing.
Minimum text size and resizable text
At default browser level, all text must have a minimum calculated size of 11px and all core content must have a minimum calculated size of 13px. By ensuring these text sizes are maintained, fewer users will need to make use of a browser based text resize function or page zoom.
Where required, users of avfc.co.uk can resize text through their web browser functions, and with this in mind, font sizes have been defined within the website stylesheets as ‘em’ or ‘%’ units.
The avfc.co.uk website has been designed to aid usability. This includes making clear that links held within general editorial content areas are self evident, identifiable by their visual style and are distinguishable from their surrounding content.
All images which are added to the website media library must have an ALT attribute specified. This helps assistive technologies such as screen readers to provide a text alternative for images.
The various form fields which appear across the website, that allow user input, must have an associated label. These labels allow users to understand what the form field is, and what data should be input. Labels have added importance for speech output users, who would otherwise not be able to interpret what the form element is.
All data tables present on the website will be marked up in such a way as to ensure web browsers and assistive technologies can identify them.
The avfc.co.uk website makes use of breadcrumb markup, which allows users and web bots to understand where the page sits in the context of the wider website.
Social media markup
Given the importance of social media platforms today, the avfc.co.uk website has been built to integrate the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This is achieved through social plugins and widgets, which display content relevant to a particular user or subject. Further, the website has been built to include Facebook Open Graph tags and Twitter card tags, which facilitate easier sharing across social platforms.
Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Avfc.co.uk has been designed responsively, which means that the website looks and behaves according to the viewport of the web browser and device used to access it. The previous version of avfc.co.uk made use of a desktop version of the website, and a mobile version of the website – but given that there are a vast number of devices (all of varying dimensions) now available on the market, the optimum experience results from a responsively designed site.
Avfc.co.uk has been built on Sitecore 8, which is a platform that boasts a personalisation engine. This means that the Sitecore system has the ability to learn about the end user, from the content they regularly view, to how often they engage with particular elements of the website. This allows content and features – and in fact, the whole user experience – to be tailored to the specific user. It is hoped that this will help users get access to their favourite and more relevant content.
AVTV is served through a fully 508 compliant player. The video player can be made full screen, and can be controlled via keyboard commands. The club may look to make use of close captioning/subtitles in the future, to aid those with poor hearing and those whose native language is not English.