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Is Your Budget Accessible to ALL Your Constituents?

While governments nationwide have quickly adapted to the growing demands to digitize their processes for the public, there is more to be done. Simply ensuring all your information and services are available online is not enough.  Governments and businesses alike must ensure that their information and/or services are easily accessible to people with varying ability levels. In other words, all content must be compliant with digital accessibility standards.  

What is Digital Accessibility?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of standards from the Worldwide Web Consortium (WC3), are considered the gold standard for digital accessibility. It provides organizations with benchmarks and essential elements required to ensure digital accessibility for all. Adhering to these standards is especially important for governments so that ALL members of their constituencies, regardless of ability level, can engage with their governments. 

How Can Local and State Governments Enhance Digital Accessibility for their Constituents? 

For local and state governments, budget transparency is critical for increasing trust with the public, particularly through an easy-to-understand visual representation of the constituency’s budget strategy and data. 

It’s best to convey to constituents all the policies, action plans, and subsequent budget allocation details, which can be summarized in a budget book which lays out how the government body plans to address the concerns and needs of their constituents over the coming year.  Additionally, essential that governments ensure that this document is digitally accessible by people with varied abilities.  Governments can do this by selecting a budget book that is ADA (AODA) compliant and has been tested by real people with disabilities.  

The Importance of Digital Accessibility in Government  

Think of digital accessibility as a mobility device. For example, government buildings and town halls are required to install wheelchair ramps to make their buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. But, if the ramp is not constructed properly and ends up being too narrow or too steep, it does not fulfill its intended purpose. 

Digital accessibility is similar. It must be considered from a holistic perspective, accounting for the many diverse needs that can come up. For example, can a person with colorblindness access your government’s public-facing financial data or would they have difficulty doing so?  

Therefore, it is also important to understand the difference between actual compliance vs. “token compliance,” which can be described as superficial compliance with laws and regulations. As highlighted by the above example, a wheelchair alone will not help ensure accessibility. Similarly, many organizations end up doing the bare minimum to provide digital accessibility, which usually involves ensuring that their digital properties can be accessed using a screen reader.   

While this may seem like a big step in the right direction, it merely scratches the surface of digital accessibility. Following are some of the common types of compliance errors identified by WCAG: 

  • Using images to show tables, charts and other content that should be HTML. 
  • Low contrast text    
  • Incorrect usage and order of headings 
  • Unavailability of alternative text for images    
  • Links without any related text (to enable easy translation by screen readers)  
  • Not accounting for accessibility for downloadable content 
  • Code that fails to identify the main language of the document  
  • Buttons without text  

While these errors might seem situational, in the context of digital documents, these cannot be overlooked. This directly points to the next question: Why?

  • Budget books are extensive documents and contain additional notes, attachments with information related to the cause, and rationale behind the allocated budget–all of which are important to the document viewer. That is why each element must be screened for seamless digital accessibility. It is equally essential for online budget books to be accessible for those using the budget book software to create the published document and those accessing it online. A seamless digital experience for all will increase the number of constituents that can access and use the information within the budget book.
  • Many financial transparency solutions in the market claim compliance but it is up to the users to determine that compliance is demonstrated.

How to Ensure Compliance with Digital Accessibility Guidelines 

While it’s important to do your research before purchasing any public-facing software, the following are some methods you can implement to ensure your budgeting software demonstrates maximum compliance with digital accessibility requirements: 

  • Conduct checks on a regular basis 
  • Check for local navigation and site structure 
  • Use an automated accessibility checker  
  • Consult an accessibility expert  
  • Conduct real-life tests   
  • Select ADA (AODA) compliant software 
  • Select software that is tested by real people with disabilities  
  • Insist that software vendors produce a VPAT from a trusted third party 

Our cloud-based budget solution, Euna Budget, powered by Questica, is built for the public sector to ensure compliance for individuals with different ability levels to help governments and public-sector organizations better serve their constituents. That is  why we strive to ensure Euna Budget’s citizen engagement and transparency software, OpenBook,which includes our online budget book tool, meets the digital accessibility requirements to facilitate seamless information exchange between government bodies and their constituents. 

Accessibility in OpenBook

We teamed up with Level Access to ensure compatibility with WCAG’s digital accessibility standards. We conducted tests against many sub-standards within WCAG and Section 508. We also tested against WCAG 2.1 A & AA, which is the industry standard for guidelines to ensure the following: 

  • Compatibility with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) “AA” standards  
  • Testing of the software by real people with disabilities. This identified many issues that were missed by the technical scans and allowed us to ensure that every user enjoys a quality experience while using our software.   
  • The use of a third-party certified Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)  

OpenBook provides interactive government transparency that is accessible to ALL members of your constituency!

Ready to achieve the highest level of budget accessibility? Schedule a demo with our Solutions team today!


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Learn how to find the right solutions partner to enhance your ERP, save time and resources, and ultimately deliver a greater impact on the communities you serve.

Download eBook