This content is currently in Alpha
Making sure services meet the needs of all users
This guide provides background on meeting the needs of users with differing abilities and/or with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. These users might include people with disability, older people, immigrants, or an international audience.
Why must I?
In 2010, the Australian Government endorsed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 as the standard to apply in making the web accessible to people with disability and older people. Likewise, the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy: Respecting diversity. Improving responsiveness includes a commitment that government programs and services will be accessible to Australians from CALD backgrounds.
How do I?
- Identify your users
- Address accessibility of your services
- Provide equitable access for CALD audiences
- Consider the needs of Indigenous audiences
Identify your users
In 2012, 18.5% of Australians (4.2 million) reported having disability. Of those people 88% (3.7 million) reported a specific limitation or restriction that meant they were limited in the core activities of self-care, mobility or communication, or restricted in schooling or employment. Disability increases with age and Australia, like most developed countries, has an ageing population.
We also know that 27% of Australia’s population were born overseas, and another 2.5% identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. This means that many of your users may not be proficient with written English. This is a good reason to use plain English when writing digital content.
Guidance on user research will help you identify the abilities of your audience.
Address the accessibility of your services
Guidance on making content accessible and testing web accessibility for websites, online services and mobile apps is available. For specific advice on preparing accessible websites and services for older people, see the W3C’s Web Accessibility and Older People: Meeting the Needs of Ageing Web Users.
Provide equitable access for CALD audiences
There are a range of actions that agencies can undertake to improve their online content for users from diverse backgrounds.
- Use plain English
- Consider making information available online in other languages
- Consider text-to-speech options
- Use design elements that are universally understood and culturally appropriate
- Present data in ways clear to international audiences
- Develop mechanisms to support intermediary information providers
- Consider user testing with a focus on culturally and linguistically diverse audiences
There is further information on these and other approaches in:
- Access and Equity in Online Information and Services – PDF [331 KB]
- Access and Equity in Online Information and Services – DOCX [148 KB]
Consider the needs of Indigenous audiences
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences comprise a wide range of people that may have different communication needs, information preferences, and expectations of government. This is influenced by factors including location, literacy, age, cultural considerations, and access to communication or media channels. We need to consider these factors to address communication barriers. Also to design strategies, messages and materials about government policies, programs and services that will effectively reach and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Australian Government Department of Finance has prepared reports on Media consumption and communication preferences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences.
Last updated: 26 March 2015