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VIDEO: City of Chilliwack website offers new options for people with disabilities

The City of Chilliwack’s website is getting an accessibility overhaul.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility (MTFIDA) reviewed chilliwack.com with help from an advisory panel.

Together, they found a need to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. A little blue button with a person on it now sits at the bottom right corner of the site no matter which page you’re on. Click on that to get a panel full of options.

For example, a ‘Seizure Safe Profile’ eliminates flashes and reduces colour while an ‘ADHD Friendly Profile’ attaches a one-inch tall and page-wide horizontal bar to your mouse pointer. As you move the pointer around the page the bar tracks with it, highlighting what you’re looking at and reducing distractions.

There is also a ‘Vision Impaired Profile,’ and a ‘Cognitive Disability Profile.’

Just about everything on the site, from the text to the colours, can be adjusted to suit a user’s needs, and once a visitor makes changes to the website, their settings will be saved across the entire website.

RELATED: Action plan aims to make Chilliwack more inclusive, diverse and accessible

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Everything can also be accessed by clicking ‘accessibility’ on the bar that contains the City of Chilliwack logo.

“On behalf of my co-chairs on the Mayor’s Task Force for Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility, Councillors Jason Lum and Bud Mercer and all of Council, I would like to thank the members of our Accessibility Advisory Panel for bringing the need for greater website accessibility to our attention,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove. “This is only a first step towards providing a better online experience to community members that live with a disability and we acknowledge that we have much more work to do, but we are committed to continuing our learning journey and making improvements as we learn.”

The City said adjustments are compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which are considered the standard for website accessibility.

Behind the scenes, it’s the ‘accessiBe’ interface handling any requested adjustments. It uses an AI-powered process for more complex requirements such as optimization for screen-readers or keyboard navigation, and other assistive technology and devices.

Residents that would like to discuss needs and opportunities around inclusion, diversity and accessibility with the mayor can schedule a Zoom meeting through the Open Door Fridays program until September. These are private, one-on-one meetings with the mayor, with one staff member in attendance for note-taking purposes.

For more information about the MTFIDA Action Plan, please visit chilliwack.com/inclusion.


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