Regional Services Division (RSD) are responsible for several products and services, including Apply to become an academy (A2B), Prepare conversions and transfers (Prepare) and Complete conversions, transfers and changes (Complete).

When an accessibility audit was done for A2B, Prepare and Complete, inconsistent and duplicate page titles were raised as issues.

Having accurate and unique page titles is important. Without them it can take longer for users to work out where they are in the products.

Screen reader users may have to use their assistive technology to read out the page content to understand the context of where they are.

Also, users who have multiple tabs open in a browser can find it harder to get back to the tab they need if the page title is not succinct and descriptive.

In many cases, page titles were different to the page headings. This creates an unclear and inconsistent experience for users, especially those using screen readers.

It also negatively impacts a page’s Google search ranking.

In actuality, the search rankings are largely irrelevant as they are mostly internal systems that require a user log in. However, it is important for us that the public-facing parts of Apply are as visible as possible.

Screenshot of a page asking for the name of a school converting

This page from the Prepare service, asks for the school name, with the title of 'Which school is involved - Manage an academy conversion'.

Screenshot of a page asking if a school applied to convert

This page from the Prepare service, asks if the school applied to convert, with the same title of 'Which school is involved - Manage an academy conversion'.

Auditing our page titles

To solve the problem, we began by auditing the page titles across A2B, Prepare and Complete.

The content designers in the team compiled an inventory spreadsheet of all the pages in the 3 products. This included the URL and current page title.

We did this by manually going through each page in all 3 products. Then copying and pasting the page titles and URLs into the Spreadsheet.

Once they were all in a spreadsheet we could:

  • cross-check the titles against each other, to see if they were duplicated
  • cross-check the titles against the URLs, to ensure they were accurate
  • propose new titles where applicable, somewhere all the team’s content designers could review

Screenshot of a spreadsheet containing URLs from A2B, the current page title name and the suggested new title, with duplicates highlighted

The Spreadsheet containing every URL and page title from A2B, with duplicates highlighted in red.

After we had identified any duplicate, inaccurate or lengthy page titles, we could start updating the relevant pages.

Maintaining future page titles

As a team, we will continue to audit our page titles.

Going forward, every page in A2B, Prepare and Complete will have a unique and accurate page title.

We will create a recurring story in our backlog to review them at regular intervals.

This will mean compiling new titles and their respective pages in a Spreadsheet, to cross-check they are appropriate and unique.

Ultimately, we need to get into the habit of including page titles in our sketches, drafts and designs. Doing so will avoid this problem reoccurring.

This will increase accessibility for users, particularly those with screen readers.

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Content design Accessibility