Case study

Vitaltech

Led by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Vitaltech is for everyone from tech newbies to highly experienced tech aficionados. It is an impartial site set up to provide information and guidance on assistive devices for the blind and visually impaired, their friends and family, and healthcare professionals.

vitaltech.org.uk

Objective

Thomas Pocklington Trust, the lead charity behind the new venture, already provides a broad range of services for the blind throughout London and the UK, and decided to work with Granite 5 partly due to our experience delivering highly accessible products including within the VI (visual impairment) sector.

The aim for the new Vitaltech website was to provide an impartial tech-focused information portal, highlighting the diverse range of technology which can improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

Impact

65%

Increase in organic search traffic

15

Different browser technologies supported

98%

Positive feedback on accessibility and usability

Approach

The nature of the website and objectives behind creating it reinforced the need to harness the latest tools and technologies, to deliver a highly accessible and interactive website. This was set to be one of our most usable sites, and we’re really pleased with the results.

We ceased the opportunity to put our accessibility experience to good use but also to learn about new and improved techniques. We aimed for AAA standard of the WAI WCAG for the navigation and AA for the rest of the site, to ensure that the site is usable for a wide range of assistive devices including screen readers, magnification tools and simple input devices.

We built in the following advanced accessibility features:

  • Voice search making the site easy to navigate with voice commands
  • Text to speech using Amazon Polly making it possible for users to listen to the website
  • Sequential tab ordering to assist navigation without a mouse
  • Colour contrast switch with options for users to choose the most suitable view for their visual needs
  • Closed captioning and subtitling on video content to provide content for deaf users.
  • Focus states, alt tags, title tags and more…

Highlight: Amazon Polly

We have integrated the site with the Amazon Polly platform, a service which turns text into lifelike speech providing an invaluable feature for blind and visually impaired users.

Amazon Polly is a paid for service, however by caching and storing media files locally we are able to keep costs low. Amazon Polly lets you convert 5 million characters per month for free during the first year, so we’ll be rolling out this feature to other VI sites.

Thanks to Granite 5, we now have an excellent accessible and innovative platform in Vital Tech for showcasing developments and trends in assistive technology. I'm very excited for its future potential.

Darren Paskell – Technology Information Champion, Thomas Pocklington Trust

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all the work on Vital Tech.  We are very proud of the product and the initial reception has been excellent.  I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength.

Sylvia Newcombe – Technology Services Director, Thomas Pocklington Trust

This was a really exciting project to manage and to further build our relationship with TPT, after successfully delivering other recent digital projects. It's always nice to work with new tools and techniques, specifically voice search and the text to speech service Amazon Polly. We're really happy with the end result and look forward to further developing the site as visitor numbers grow.

Christian Scott – Head of Project Delivery, Granite 5

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