We have developed this site to achieve Accessibility Standards.
Our core dynamic pages and navigation routines have been tested to conform to W3C Accessibility Guidelines. For this reason the WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 have been used extensively in the design of this website.
Though this site is monitored on a regular basis and accessibility is an important part of every new development it is not possible to predict every possible difficulty a user might have in accessing information on the site.
At the top of every page, you will see our Browsealoud icon
Browsealoud reads web pages aloud for people who find it difficult to read online. Reading large amounts of text on screen can be difficult for those with literacy and visual impairments.
Browsealoud will allow you to access all the content on our site.
Website Icons Explained
You may have noticed the various icons on our homepage using the terms ‘W3C’, ‘CSS’, ‘XHTML’, EIQA and so on. These symbols are types of standards and awards that our website has obtained. Indeed we here in Laois are very proud of our site and we continue to strive to improve the level of service and accessibility our website provides to visitors. We have been shortlisted for numerous awards which are also outlined below.
Here is a quick explanation of each symbol:
Clicking on this icon will lead you to a ‘validation’ service provided by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium – the international standards organisation for the internet and the World Wide Web). This service allows you to check the page for xhtml validity level 1.0. We’ve placed this icon on our webpage as we have been authorised to use it i.e. we conform to the xhtml international standards and have passed the validation service. The term ‘xhtml’ refers to a computer language that laois.ie has been written in – this allows us to structure our text and graphics into what you see when you visit laois.ie.
Much the same as the xhtml icon above, this icon is a statement of validity regarding the css (Content Style Sheets) used on laois.ie. CSS is used to define colours, fonts and various other styles to present the content outlined in the xhtml document.
This icons signifies the level of Accessibility Conformance laois.ie has reached. Accessibility refers to the process of making web content accessible to people with disabilities. It is promoted by the WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) who are a part of the W3C. The Irish Government has committed to reaching AA or Priority 2 standards under the Disability Act 2005 for all public sites, a commitment that laois.ie has delivered.
Laois.ie has received EIQA’s W-Mark for website excellence in conformance, accessibility, user-friendly navigation, and good code compliance and structure. This certificate was awarded after the EIQA carried out an audit of laois.ie and advised us on good web design practice.
Our website has also been nominated for numerous awards including:
Laois.ie was shortlisted in 2007 for a ‘Golden Spider’ – Ireland’s premier internet awards. Laois.ie were in the category of Best Public Sector Website, and we were up against stiff competition such as itsyourmoney.ie, dublinwaste.ie and bordgaisenergysupply.ie among others, so to even be nominated is an achievement in itself. (Visit the Golden Spiders Website here)
Laois.ie was shortlisted for the BT Inspired IT Awards 2007 in the Business Services category, and again the competition was impressive, boasting such names as RTE’s General Election site, AIB’s iBusiness Banking and the ESB to name but a few. Although the eventual winners were RTE for their coverage of the General Elections, we here in Laois are quite proud that we are being recognised for our efforts with a nomination.
Laois County Councils website was awarded the best overall Local Irish eGovernment Award at the 2008 Irish eGovernment Awards.