A government website with a big heart
The Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap, or VAPH) is a public organisation that has been working since 2006 (and also before that, as the 'Flemish Fund') to ensure maximum autonomy and quality of life for persons with disabilities. Participation, integration, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities are therefore of paramount importance. In order to make it easier for everyone to find their way on their website, the VAPH called in the help of Calibrate. A work that all parties involved look back on with satisfaction. Read here how we worked!
What did we do for VAPH?
As the VAPH's website is the digital hub par excellence for informing people with disabilities about its services, it was clear in advance that the website should be made as accessible as possible. That is why we took accessibility, user-friendliness, a refreshed and modern design and a structure that focuses on VAPH's target groups rather than just the organisational structure into account right from the start.
The preliminary process was taken over by a colleague from Punt, one of our sister companies within the Cronos Group. She was thoroughly familiarised with the content at VAPH and helped determine the new information architecture on the basis of various workshops. When Calibrate took over the project and started building the new website, flexibility was the key word. During the development phase, this information architecture was translated into a concrete website, where we were always ready to respond to the customer's needs and implement the necessary adjustments.
Cooperation with the VAPH
In order to involve VAPH employees as much as possible in building the website, we also provided training courses and workshops during the development phase - which took place partly on location at VAPH and partly at our offices in Kontich. In this way, the people at VAPH were fully up to date with the latest developments on their website and immediately knew how to proceed when they wanted to add new content or make other adjustments. The back-end was therefore immediately tailored to their needs. This allowed us to work on the new website together with the webmaster and the VAPH project team.
In cooperation with the VAPH project team, we imported a large number of organisations and documents from the old site. It had to be possible to offer the many content that was already on that government site in a new and easy way. That is why we integrated MailChimp and Campaign Monitor into the website, among other things, so that it became even easier for the administrators of the VAPH to keep their visitors and followers informed. We also worked out various Paragraph Types in Drupal, so that it was easy to create different products with different display modes.
Accessibility was logically at the heart of all these developments. That's why we took the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) into account as much as possible, a set of guidelines that aims to make the internet as accessible as possible for everyone. These guidelines take people with disabilities into account, among other things, and we provided an adapted Drupal output to comply with these guidelines. This means that we used link texts that are meaningful within their context and provided adapted tab indexes where necessary, added alt texts to all images, made the site operable via the keyboard, ensured that the site is correctly read by screen readers, provided the necessary colour contrasts, used ARIA attributes where necessary and built up a correct semantic header structure. In short, we took care of the necessary customisation for the new VAPH website. With all these elements, we also made a distinction between different types of help (urgent, directly accessible, non-directly accessible ...) in order to guide every visitor to the right pages as quickly as possible.
We also made frequent use of Page Manager, so that the people at VAPH themselves can modify almost every block on every page. In addition, we also provided custom editorial workflow with a revision system, making it easy for the editors to work. However, the standard Drupal multilingualism was too large and complex to integrate on this website, especially as it only contains a limited number of translated pages. That's why we built fake multilingual pages, and set up our own, concise system that makes it possible to make the English part 'separate' with, if necessary, an own page layout, menu and suchlike.