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Improve Cookie Control accessibility with version 9.6

Modern websites have an obligation to be accessible to everyone - this is especially true in the context of privacy to establish a genuine record of consent before user tracking occurs.

This article aims to show how you can increase the accessibility of your website with new accessibility improvements within version 9.6 of Cookie Control. For those short on time, the main take away and best part about version 9.6 is that most users can benefit by simply updating the version of Cookie Control used on their site - with no changes required to their configuration.

What’s new in version 9.6?

Outlining of elements in focus will now be enabled by default to increase visibility for visually impaired users and those preferring keyboard navigation. You can also still enable the highlightFocus option to increase the visual contrast of these elements further. This allows the module to comply with WCAG AA 2.47, which states that the keyboard focus indicator should be clearly visible.

We've also enhanced accessibility by preventing scrolling on background elements whilst the module is open. This allows keyboard navigation to retain focus within the module until it's closed and helps to prevent distraction for those with cognitive impairments by reducing excessive background motion.

Further improvements to aid navigation for users of assistive technology have also been made, such as improved aria labelling of elements and revised heading order for organisation. Buttons now also have more informative default labels to better convey the actions they perform.

We'll continue to improve accessibility as a priority in future releases. Take a look at our documentation for full accessibility options.

The importance of Web Accessibility

If this is the first time you're hearing some of the terms above, it's helpful to clarify what web accessibility is and why it's important. An accessible website is one that can be used by people with permanent or temporary disabilities such as visual impairment, motor impairment, cognitive impairment or even someone with a temporary concussion or broken arm. As of the most recent figures from Scope, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK alone. This includes 19% of working age adults.

By making your website accessible, you ensure that all of these potential users can access and navigate through your information.

Not only is improving the accessibility of your website the right thing to do and a way of expanding your audience reach, but many countries also now have legislation that requires web accessibility. While legislation varies from country to country, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the international standard for web accessibility.

Adhering to WCAG compliance standards is a good way to measure the accessibility of your website. It's especially important in the context of GDPR and privacy, in order to have confidence that any records of consent have been made by an accurately informed user with an explicit and intended act.

Cookie Control version 9.6 will be released in May 2022. If you are loading Cookie Control version 9.x, then you'll automatically receive this version at this time. If you prefer to manually manage the versions used, we'll send a notification email to all users closer to the time to let you know it's available.

For more information on Cookie Control versions, please refer to our documentation.

If you would like any help with this, take a look at our accessibility evaluations and testing services to see where CIVIC can help.