Web Development

Developing an Accessible Website – Wood County Electrical Cooperative Case Study

White Lion — June 22, 2017

We recently redesigned and developed a custom WordPress site for Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WCEC). With a website that was about 5 years old, it had become difficult for them to maintain. WCEC approached White Lion last year with the need for a new design that would support several pages of content and be easy to maintain over time.

Our directives included building a website that was not only engaging and intuitive for visitors but was accessible for visitors with disabilities — on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Another deliverable was to create a scalable foundation that could support future phase upgrades.

For a little background, WCEC is a not-for-profit electric cooperative with the mission of providing its member-customers reliable electric service at a reasonable rate. Founded all the way back in 1938, they are one of Texas’ first electrical cooperatives. They now serve a wide demographic in parts of nine East Texas counties and pride themselves on quality service, integrity, excellence and community.


Create a truly modern design as a starting point

Prior to reaching out to us, WCEC had recently upgraded their office space. The designer of the new building drew inspiration from the posters of a notable graphic designer of the mid-20th century, Lester Beall.

Using that inspiration as our starting point, we sought to execute the client’s vision by applying the same angular aesthetic to the website design. In doing so, we created a fresh site to complement the client’s trendy new space.


Treat accessibility as customer service

Aiming to provide the best service to their customers, WCEC placed a high priority on accessibility from the outset of the website redesign. With that in mind, we needed to ensure the website was easy to traverse for the disabled, blind, and visually impaired.

During the design process, this involved general text legibility considerations, like font size and color contrast. This also meant planning on a more flexible layout that could support and allow for text resizing by the end user.

Allowing users to choose their preferred text size

In development, we determined we needed to create a global text resizing feature, by which site users could scale the font size to their preference. Likewise, it required all links, buttons, and form inputs be accessible via the keyboard, and all elements of the page to be clearly labeled for screen readers. For this, we applied accepted best practices, such as use of ARIA attributes where necessary, as well as image “alt” tags and appropriate form labels that can also be read by screen readers.


Targeting for all the devices

Accessibility also meant making sure that the website would appear and perform beautifully on every device under the sun. As with all our other projects, the new WCEC website is fully responsive, scaling fluidly and gracefully from one screen size to the next.


“Don’t make me think” content management

Knowing that there would be a lot of content and the client would want full control over it, WordPress was an obvious choice, because of its user-friendly interface. As developers, it affords us the ability to efficiently combine a large-scale custom website project with a robust content management system. Through the new website admin, WCEC now has full control over all the content (including text, forms, tables, and images) on every page — from the header to the main content and the sidebar.

“In all, thus far, we are very pleased with the website and the experience”

Paige Eaton, Director of Communications Wood County Electrical Cooperative

Your user’s delight is our reward

At White Lion, we like making our clients happy. But even more importantly, we like making our client’s users happy. From the beginning to the end of a project, we apply time-tested discovery processes, user experience knowledge, and development best practices. This ensures your new website not only looks beautiful, but is accessible and easy for your customers to understand, navigate, and convert. Take a look at our process to learn more about how we think when we think about web design and development.

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