Briteweb designs WCAG-Level AAA website for The Chicago LighthouseWritten by Jay Wall RGD, Briteweb
By Jay Wall RGD, Principal Creative Director, Briteweb
The Chicago Lighthouse is a world-renowned social enterprise and care facility serving people who are blind, visually impaired, people with disabilities and Veteran communities. They provide social services that improve the quality of life for patients, clients and their families. However, despite their incredible work, the organization’s mission was not being effectively communicated to their audiences. Their website was outdated and hard to navigate, with over 350 pages and an information architecture that resulted in a difficult UX—especially for their target users. The website required custom integration with a SaaS-based platform that would provide a series of client-side tools to enable users who were blind or visually-impaired to access content with ease. With their audiences in mind, The Chicago Lighthouse approached Briteweb for a website redesign, with accessibility being the focus.
One of the first considerations for the website redesign was being able to represent the organization's breadth of services and reach with clarity and ease, positioning it to effectively communicate with a diverse set of stakeholders, from donors to physicians. Briteweb identified common communication threads that ran through all the stakeholder groups to craft brand material that met their needs and expectations, while providing a top-tier standard of accessibility.
While most website projects do automated user testing, to add an extra layer of accessibility assurance, Briteweb partnered with the Digital Accessible Experience (DAX) team at The Chicago Lighthouse comprising testers who are blind or visually impaired, to test digital experiences through a range of assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and speech-to-text software for compliance and user experience.
As a standard practice, Briteweb ensures that all website builds are compliant with Level AA under WCAG (Website Content Accessibility Guidelines). However, with The Chicago Lighthouse website, they took the extra step to ensure it was compliant with the highest level of accessibility under WCAG—Level AAA. Level AAA criteria has an extra 28 requirements from those outlined in Level AA and is rated as the gold standard in accessibility. The result is a user-intuitive and accessible website, removing all barriers previously faced by the organization's audience. People with visual impairments can now access information with ease, while the website remains true to their brand, mission and values.