Accessibility Statement for Buildings Database Application

This statement applies to content published on the website.

This website is run by the Department for Communities. It is designed to be used by as many people as possible. The text should be clear and simple to understand. For example you should be able to:

  • zoom in up to 300% without problems
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • use most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

How accessible this website is

Parts of this website are not fully accessible. For example:

  • some pages and elements have poor colour contrast
  • some heading elements are not consistent
  • some elements of pages would be difficult for keyboard or assistive technology to read
  • some pages contain broken navigation

How to request content in an accessible format

If you need information in a different format contact us by using the feedback form and tell us:

  • the web address (URL) of the content
  • your name and email address
  • the format you need, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, accessible PDF

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact us by using the feedback form and our Communications & Engagement Unit will investigate the issue.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’) in Northern Ireland. If you are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The Department for Communities is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

This website is not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations        

A basic audit check was completed on the website, using a range of tools. Examples of non-accessible content are outlined below, with details of:

  • the accessibility problem(s)
  • where it fails the success criteria, and
  • when we plan to fix it

Developer issues

The website was not developed by the Department for Communities and was inherited for support purposes after the NICS departmental restructuring in November 2016.

There is a lack of technical documentation.

Our IT team currently has a lack of available resources and skills in web accessibility.

The web application is old and is deemed out of support.

Examples of content that does not meet WCAG 2.1 design principles:

Principle 1 (Perceivable) - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

When search results are shown, the links under the column headings “HB Num” and “Address” contain text where the contrast between the colour of text and its background for the element makes it difficult to read and not easily distinguishable. The contrast between the colour of text and its background element should be in the ratio of 4.5:1 for standard text, or 3:1 for larger text.

Some pages do not have a first level heading. Headings facilitate page navigation for users of many assistive technologies. They also provide semantic and visual meaning and structure to the document. A first level heading (<h1>) should be present on nearly all pages. It should contain the most important heading on the page (generally the document title).

Principle 2 (Operable) - User interface components and navigation must be operable

A broken skip link is present on some pages, and is missing the code functionality to enable it to work. A skip link is a link that jumps over navigation or jumps to the main content of the page to assist keyboard users only if the link is properly functioning and is keyboard accessible. If it is not needed it should be removed from code.

Principle 3 (Understandable) - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable

An abbreviation is used some pages but is not explained. “HB NIEA” and “NIEA-PHB” are examples.

What we plan to do to fix the issues

A project is underway to commission the development of a replacement for this web application and is expected to be ready by 31 March 2022.  The developer will be mandated to ensure the new system meets the accessibility requirements set out in the regulations.  An updated accessibility statement will be published once this has been completed. 

Disproportionate burden

Not applicable

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

As a website published before 23 September 2018, we are required to comply with the web accessibility regulations from 23 September 2020.

However, some of our content is exempt from the accessibility regulations:

  • pre-recorded audio and video published before 23 September 2020
  • heritage collections
  • PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 - unless required for the use of a service, for example a form
  • maps
  • third party content that is not within our control, for example, embedded video players like Vimeo or YouTube, and embedded Google Maps.

If you have any problems using this website, tell us using the feedback form and our Communications & Engagement Unit will investigate the issue and/or provide you with the information you need in an alternative format.

How we tested this website

A basic audit test was carried out internally for this website for compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 level A and level AA.

We used the Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test.

Ranges of tools were:

  • AChecker
  • ASLint
  • Code Sniffer
  • SortSite
  • Wave

The results of tests can be requested by using the feedback form.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

As this web application is old and deemed ‘out of support’ we have begun a process to commission a replacement system which is expected to be ready by March 2022.  This statement will be updated further once the work to replace this web application has been completed. 

This statement was prepared on 22 September 2020. It was last updated on 22 September 2020.

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