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A WCAG-compliant website that makes working at the municipality of Hoeksche Waard accessible to everyone

Gemeente Hoeksche Waard

Gemeente Hoeksche Waard


Inclusivity and accessibility are high on the agenda for the municipality of Hoeksche Waard. After all, in the still young municipality, established in 2019, after a merger of several municipalities, it’s important that everyone feels at home. This applies to residents, but also to employees of the municipality. Harborn was closely involved in the employer branding strategy of the municipality of Hoeksche Waard, ensuring that online communication fully aligns with these principles. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) plays a major role in this. Although Harborn takes that into account as standard practice, complying with regulations for digital accessibility is mandatory for government websites. The municipality of Hoeksche Waard fully supports this. As a result, their main website was one of the first to comply with the new legislation, and only logical to also make their dedicated job vacancy website (werkenbijdehw.nl) fully accessible for everyone. Harborn had the full confidence of the municipality of Hoeksche Waard and took care of both the redesign of the website and the technical requirements for WCAG compliance.


  • PHP
  • Symfony
  • Sulu
  • Elasticsearch
  • SAML SSO (Single Sign On)
  • HTML, CSS & Javascript
City hall municipality Hoeksche Waard

Scoring on technology... and feel

Anyone redesigning a website would do well to immediately think about accessibility as well as user-friendliness. A website that’s accessible to everyone also scores better on user experience and findability. It is therefore always advisable to at least implement this in a new website.. However, the team working with the municipality of Hoeksche Waard went a step further. Not only because of the WCAG, but also because the website contributes to establishing a strong employer brand. It needs to showcase what kind of employer the municipality is, convey the right mentality and highlight what’s important within the municipality. For these reasons too, Harborn worked closely with the municipality's team. Because, although the WCAG is technically important, the way a job vacancy is displayed, or how you properly convey what working for the municipality of Hoeksche Waard entails, plays a significant role in the perception of (potential) new colleagues.

A strong collaboration

Besides making the new website more user-friendly, visually appealing, and interactive, the team also looked at the technical implementation of WCAG. Here too, they went the extra mile, with additions beyond the necessary accessibility requirements. Demonstrating that inclusiveness for the municipality of Hoeksche Waard goes beyond nice words. A strong collaboration was essential in this process. Although complying with the Accessibility Guidelines is not overly complex from a technical perspective, various departments had to provide input. There was a strong drive within both the municipality and the Harborn team to incorporate the necessary components into the website as quickly as possible. Moreover, both parties paid close attention to the WCAG internally, so that everyone knew what to take into account.

Hoeksche Waard website on a laptop frontview

From user-friendly to accessible

Accessibility requires additional features, which may not be immediately apparent to everyone. For instance, when you think of a user-friendly website, you might consider factors such as readability, large buttons, or clear navigation. However, an accessible website also allows for adjusting contrast, enabling people with light sensitivity or visual impairments to read the text. Other examples of improved accessibility include ensuring that navigation on a website can be done entirely via the keyboard, or processing information in such a way that a screen reader can read it in the right way and in the right order. It is these aspects that also make the website of the municipality of Hoeksche Waard user-friendly for those with a disability or a temporary condition, such as a broken hand.

Collecting, checking and adjusting

You will find the accessibility statement in the footer of the new website, which declares that the municipality of Hoeksche Waard meets the requirements of the WCAG. To make this claim, it was necessary to test the website using the “WCAG Evaluation Methodology”. For this purpose, Harborn collaborates with the Accessibility Foundation. This made it easier to work towards the external audit, which confirms the website's compliance. An additional feature, not required by the guidelines, but improving the user experience, is the toolbar on the side of the website. This allows users to zoom in on the website, switch from light to dark mode and have the website read aloud, without the need for an external program.

Example website Hoeksche Waard on a laptop sideview

Accessibility in a dynamic format

However, the majority of the work was not about accessibility, but the redesign of the website. Naturally, clarity and recognisability were emphasised in the redesign as well. For instance, the overview opens with the number of available jobs, you immediately see the number of hours, and you can easily and quickly click through to the full job description. The new website is dynamic and, with the transitions in green and blue, aligns perfectly with the visual identity of the municipality of Hoeksche Waard. Additionally, the website is of course completely mobile-friendly.

The municipality provides appealing content too, with videos displayed on various pages, enabling them to attract even more nice and talented colleagues. In the future, videos will also be used to show potential colleagues the location where they will be working. This demonstrates that at the municipality, just like on the website, everyone is very welcome.

Woman with a baby who uses her laptop with one hand.

Would you like a WCAG-compliant website?

After reading this case, does an accessible website feel like a logical choice for you too? Or are you curious about what adjustments you can make to improve your current website? Then get in touch with Ferdinando, the project lead of this case, or read our Lisanne’s blog, which explains more about what WCAG entails and the benefits it brings to your website!

+316 1368 1514ferdinando.vandepanne@harborn.com