Screenshot of websitePeninsula Light Company in Gig Harbor, Washington, enlisted Pioneer Utility Resources to redesign their website,

The new responsive design is mobile-friendly, a great perk for PenLight members looking at the site on smartphones or tablets. But the biggest change was an eye toward Americans with Disabilities Act website accessibility guidelines.

The old website design featured a rotating slideshow with text-heavy graphics, two navigation sections (a line at the top and a list of quick links on the left side) and a drop-down menu for services.

These design choices made viewing the site difficult for members with vision and cognitive challenges. Videos are not used on the site, but if they were, closed captioning would have been an issue.

The new design made four big changes:

  1. Avoid text overlays. To make sure anyone could easily understand content, PenLight removed graphics with heavy text overlays. Instead, program promotions (paperless billing, Project Help, Ambassador Program) use images with blocks of text underneath.
  1. Add a slider advance option. A slider with program marketing messages changed from automatically rotating messages to only advancing when an arrow is clicked.
  1. Streamline navigation. Five buttons with the most common actions take center stage, with words under the button icons clearing explaining the content (Manage Account, One-Time Payment, Prepay Program, Power Outages, and Save Money and Energy).
  1. Tag images. Images were tagged with meaningful alternative text.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” says Jonathan White, PenLight’s director of marketing and member services. “We have gotten great comments from our staff and members. The end result was beyond my expectations.”

Check out the PenLight website