The initial assessment of the Thetford town website showed issues with ADA compliance and formatting.
ADA Accessibility issues needing remediation included:
1. Remove tables used for layout
2. Alternate text and descriptions for images and graphics
3. Make links descriptive.
I needed to tighten up the formatting generally. Many pages had differing fonts in different sections caused by pasting from Word documents without converting to plain text.
The home page made hardly any use of the sidebar and there was a link to the calendar. If I never again see the words “Click here to..” anything at all it will be too soon. The site was full of no-nos like “Office hours are set forth below. “ (Really? Where? Why not just say what the hours are? Why make your visitors work for their information?)
Other similar issues, such as the second paragraph:
“The town is run by volunteers and by a full and part-time staff of 25. Residents wishing to get involved in the several committees that help set the town’s agenda should look to the Citizen’s Guide section above and feel free to send questions to one of our selectboard members or other public official.”
What Citizens Guide section? Nothing that says Citizens Guide was shown above on that page. “Look to” the Citizens Guide?? How about just linking to it? Again, why make visitors do so much unnecessary work?
Visual links to Facebook badges for the Fire Department and Treasure Island took forever to load and there was no indication of what you were waiting for.
I began by going through the whole site and removing all the text formatting. I then formatted the text using the native WordPress headings, quote and paragraph formats.
I made use of the sidebar, adding an agenda view of meetings and moving contact information from the footer area up where people could see it. The slow loading Facebook badges got moved to the bottom of the sidebar where they had a chance to load while the visitor read “above the fold”. I added an Announcements widget and a Search function
Not too many changes and the site began to have a lot more information in a much more coherent arrangement.