Yellow’s New Zealand tourism guide making destinations accessible
Gold is a coveted benchmark when it comes to rankings, and an indicator of success. Now, a leading initiative by Yellow has seen its tourism platform reach a New Zealand-first by achieving a gold accessibility rating, awarded by Be. Accessible.
From small beginnings the New Zealand Tourism Guide, which is owned by Yellow, began operation in 1997, but it is now a leading tourism site in New Zealand, and the first tourism website of its type in the country to undergo an accessibility assessment.
The site currently lists more than 12,000 New Zealand tourism and travel sites and actively works with thousands of tourism operators throughout the country to provide comprehensive information including accommodation, attractions, tours, transport, maps and bookings.
The website is the first of many initiatives that Yellow will work on with Be. Accessible, the social change organisation that offers a framework for accessibility and aims to create a more accessible country for everyone. Their mantra is that every person has their part to play in the creation of accessibility regardless of how big or small the change. All organisations to undergo the accessibility assessment, and meet the standard minimum requirements, are awarded a rating of either bronze, silver, gold or platinum.
Around 25% of New Zealanders have temporary or permanent disabilities that mean access to education, employment, and the community can be difficult or limited. Challenges to access can include sensory, physical and intellectual impairment; impaired mobility as a result of accident, illness, age or pregnancy; and mental or physical illness.
Minnie Baragwanath, Chief Executive of Be. Institute has applauded Yellow’s leadership and encourages others to embrace the growing NZ accessible tourism movement. “We are hugely excited for the team at New Zealand Tourism Guide who have worked hard to ensure that their website is usable and accessible to all visitors wishing to find out more about enjoying our country or their local region. This is a wonderful step change for the Be. movement that the New Zealand Tourism Guide and the team at Yellow have embraced.”
Kevin Prince, the Be.Accessible Coach who assessed the website, says: “The New Zealand Tourism Guide takes accessibility very seriously – it is a complex site, but the team engaged enthusiastically to adapt their original design to meet the needs of access customers.
“They were able to see where the standard web designs were awkward for keyboard users or screen readers and updated their code – innovatively – to meet the needs of all users. We were particularly impressed by the way that they took a map index that only mouse users could use and made an effective keyboard interface without changing the visual appearance. They have also ensured that practical accessibility is at the heart of the content they control.”
Other changes made to the website which contributed to its achievement of the preeminent rating included having keyboard focus visible for low vision users, and the addition of captions to videos on the website which not only suit access customers but non-English speakers.