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Accessibility Statement

Here at Heylo Housing we are all about inclusion.  Our home moving schemes are designed to help those who might otherwise be excluded from buying a home, to find a home they truly love and buy more shares in it, over time, at a pace that suits them.


Also, it’s the case that when a customer buys one of our homes, they enter into a long-term relationship with us, as we become their landlord. 


With all of this mind, it’s important to us that we communicate with, and deliver our services to, our customers in ways that are easy for them to understand, and are comfortable and pleasant.


Our vision is for Heylo Housing to be accessible for everyone in our community - from the get-go.  This will be achieved through embedding accessibility across Heylo and through constant engagement with our customers and stakeholders to ensure the services and communications that we are delivering are truly accessible.


Our vision is one that allows for constant improvement too. We acknowledge that we may not always get accessibility right the first time, but we will embed a culture of continual improvement that allows us to evolve our approach over time.  We expect to achieve continuous improvement through via two routes:


Route 1: Use of technology

We shall look to embed new technologies that enable our communications and deliver of our services to be accessible. Whether this is improvements to our customer record system, or new technologies for our websites, we are ready to adopt new technologies as and when we have a high level of confidence that they will deliver on our accessibility objectives.


Route 2: Customer engagement

We will look to our community to customers for feedback on how we are performing, and what our focuses should be.  We will use our existing Customer Committee as the forum for gathering feedback and insights. 


We will also use customer data gathered during the onboarding phase to identify immediate actions to take, and also for guiding the overall strategy. 


This accessibility statement confirms the work we have undertaken to make our digital platforms and communications accessible for all customers. It also highlights where we have identified gaps in our digital platforms and communications, and our plan to address those gaps.

Accessibility of the Heylo Housing website

To understand just how accessible our digital platforms are we have undertaken an accessibility audit.  The audit measures the accessibility of the website against the WGAC 2.2 AA standard, with our goal to be AA compliant.


In addition to this audit, we have strengthened the accessibility of our website by adding an Accessibility Assistant tool.  This tool is powered by a company called ‘Recite Me’.


Our Accessibility Assistant allows users to adapt our website to their requirements. The tool enables a variety of adaptations to be made, including screen reader, language translation, and reading aid tools (such as reading ruler, screen mask and magnifier), as well as a range of ways to customize the website to the users own preferred style, including text size, font, etc.


To access the Accessibility Assistant, users need to click on the button that says ‘Accessibility Assistant’.  The bar will be visible whenever a user clicks onto our website for the first time, or opens a new page within our website.  Once this button is clicked, a new bar will appear at the top of the screen.  The bar will show a range of icons running along the left hand side of the screen with the Recite Me logo showing on the far right hand side of the bar. 


Users can click on the icons to begin accessing the various tools within the Accessibility Assistant.  Users who may not be sure what the icons mean, need only hover their mouse (or you can tab through the icons using the keyboard tab) to see a definition of what the icons mean. 


We understand that many users who have accessibility requirements will have their own adaptive tools and technologies to help them navigate the internet in a way that is right for them.  With this in mind, we do not rely solely on the Recite Me technology and have taken care to ensure our website is compliant with WGAC 2.2 AA standards. 

What did we discover as a result of the audit?

The audit was conducted by an external consultant with expertise in accessibility but with full involvement of the Heylo Marketing Team and nominated person responsible for Consumer Standards.


Alt Text

Alt Text helps users who may wish to access our website using a screen reader. To ensure this is possible, we have reviewed all images and graphics on our website and ensured that Alt Text is added and up to date.


Explaining the User Journey

We understand that buying a home isn’t like buying a tin of beans from the supermarket. There are many stages to the process, and at various points it is required to complete forms. We understand that such involved journeys could confuse users, or even cause anxiety. To mitigate this we have reviewed website forms to ensure we communicate to the user how much of the form they have completed, or have yet to do, for example, ‘Stage 1 or 2’.


Colour and Contrast

We have checked the website to ensure it meets WGAC 2.2 AA compliance for contrast and all colours and contrasts meet the minimum 4.5:1. We have changed colours and contrasts to ensure they are compliant, but are unable to change the contrast on form labels. If you are filling in a form on our website and are not sure what data to enter on a particular form, please email us on [email protected] for further support.


Page designs and colour schemes have been checked so that they are clear and accessible, while not being so bright that they may cause issues for users who may be photosensitive.


We have also checked our website colour scheme against a colour vision deficiency simulator to see how a colour vision deficient person may view the site.  After this review, we were satisfied all text and images were visible.


Finally, we have reviewed our forms so that we do not use the colour red as a signifier of when a user has made an error or not completed a form. We may still use the colour red, but within the text itself we will write ‘Error’ so colour vision deficient users will easily spot further action is required.


Font Sizing

The base font size for the website is 14 and the font is regular in weight and is sans serif in style. We believe the font choice and sizing means the copy and text on our website is accessible, particularly for users who may be visually impaired or be neuro-divergent.


Iconography

Lots of different icons may look great, but for some users, they may be confusing. We have therefore limited the use of icons and whenever we do use them, we have taken steps to add captions so that a written explanation sits directly below / adjacent. 


Iframes and Forms

Throughout the website, we use use Iframes and we use them to embed another document within the HTML.  Unfortunately, due to technical limitations of our website technology, we are unable to give Iframes and forms title attributes, or Aria-labels.  This does impact users who may be navigating the site via screen readers. If you are a screen reader user and cannot find a document, or form on our website, please contact us for support, on [email protected].


Keyboard Tabbing

We reviewed the ability for users to navigate through our website using the keyboard only. We made sure that there were no keyboard traps and we have also updated the website so that keyboard users are aware of the content they are focused on via highlighted tabs.


While we have taken time to check for keyboard traps, and will undertake regular reviews to ensure they do not appear as we deploy new webpages or edit existing one, it is not possible for us to guarantee that they will never appear.  This is because we update our website, sometimes several times a day, and so the risk of keyboard traps appearing cannot be mitigated altogether.  If you notice any keyboard traps while using our website, please do alert us by emailing [email protected] and we’ll be sure to fix that for you.


Landmarks

Landmarks help make webpages more user-friendly and are particularly useful for screen reader users by making information easier to navigate.


Unfortunately, our current website provider does not offer the ability to create Landmarks and we are therefore unable to add Landmarks to the website.  Users who encounter difficulties using screen reader technology to access our website can email us directly and we can confirm other ways to provide the information required.  The email address to use is [email protected].


Language

We understand that for some of our users, English may not be their first language or their reading ability may not be their strength.  With this in mind, we have reviewed our copy to ensure that, wherever possible, it is written in plain English.


We define plain English as using as few words as possible to deliver the necessary message. This means limited use of adjectives and abbreviations and never using acronyms that may cause confusion.


We also term plain English as being clear to the user on what we need them to do. For example ‘Please call us now so we can discuss your query’, rather than ‘You could call us to discuss your query in more detail.’


For users who do not speak English as their first language, we have added technology to our website that enables them to translate the text on our website.  This technology is called Recite Me and it offers users the opportunity to translate text on our website into over 100 languages, including 65 text to speech voices.


Users wishing to access the Recite Me technology should click on the Accessibility Assistant button that pops up when they land on any webpage.  They will then see a bar appears at the top of the screen with ‘Recite Me’ logo showing on the right hand side.  From there, the user needs to click on this icon to then change the text on the webpage to the language that suits them.


For customers who are calling into our customer service centre and for whom English may not be their first language, we may be able to ask Heylo colleagues who can speak other languages to translate on the customers behalf.


Self Contained Actions

To assist users who may have a cognitive impairment or mental health conditions, we have reviewed our call to action buttons so that they are explain what will happen if the user clicks on them.  For example, rather than saying ‘Download Policy’, we say ‘Click here to download the policy.’  This is to reduce anxiety for users by ensuring they are fully aware of what will happen if they click on a button.


Accessibility Review and Improvement

Our accessibility audit was completed in May 2024.  We will undertake another audit of the Heylo Housing website in May 2025 and every 12-months thereafter.  The goal of the audit is to achieve we maintain compliance with the WGAC 2.2 AA standard.


Accessibility Maturity Model

We have developed an Accessibility Maturity Model that we will use to deliver continual improvement.  We assess ourselves as currently being at Level 3 (Repeatable) for most dimensions, and Level 2 (Defined) for two dimensions.  


Our ambition is to be Level 4 (Managed) across all dimensions by the end of 2025 and Level 5 (Optimal) across all dimensions by the end of 2026. 


If you wish to find out more about our Accessibility Maturity Model please email [email protected].


Other ways we have made our services accessible

Ensuring our website is accessible is important, but our work doesn’t stop there.  We have taken great care to assess the accessibility of all ways our customers can communicate with us.  Here’s what we have done, and what work we have to do.


Accessibility from the get-go

As soon as we sell a home to a customer, we make a proactive effort to engage with them to understand any accessibility requirements they may have.


Before a customer completes on a home, we issue them a form that seeks to gain a further understanding of the customer and their life at home. Questions asked include: ‘what is your gender?’ and ‘what religion do you follow?’; as well as questions that directly ask if the customer wishes to request any reasonable adjustments to be made in how we communicate with them.


These questions may seem personal in nature, but asking these questions allows us to better understand our community of customers and enables us to make more informed decisions when we come to deliver communications to our customers.


We require the customer to return the form before completing on their home, but it is important to stress that should they choose not to answer any question then they can select the ‘prefer not to say’ option.


Data collected from these surveys are stored in our customer record system and that data is processed for the sole purpose of ensuring we communicate with the customer via their preferred method, wherever possible.


For more information on how we store and process customer data, please visit our privacy notice here – www.heylohousing.com/privacy-notice.


If a customer elects to inform us of a specific accessibility requirement then we will take action to accommodate that request so that whenever we communicate with them, their requirement is fulfilled. For example, if a customer elects to inform us that they are visually impaired and require printed correspondence supplied in large font print, we will look to supply all letters to this customer in large font print.

 

What to do if you need to request an accessibility adjustment.

While our aim is to deliver accessibility requirements from the get-go, we understand that people’s lives and circumstances change and we expect customers to make additional or new requests to adapt how we communicate with them.


If you would like to request an accessibility adjustment please contact us using the contact details below.