BPDA unveils new translation and accessibility features on website
Jul 22, 2020
Building on its ongoing commitment to create a more user-friendly website experience, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) this week added two new features to its website to address translation and accessibility. Since 2014, the BPDA has made significant tech upgrades that support community engagement and transparency.
A new translation feature is now available in the top right navigation of every page on the agency’s website, bostonplans.org. The feature is powered by translate.google.com and allows users to select from over 100 languages on a page-by-page basis.
The BPDA is also working towards additional improvements to the website related to screen readability and ADA compliance. Already implemented on the website is PageAssist by Monsido, a toolbar which gives users control over their website experience through personalized options in font size, colors, and keyboard navigation. PageAssist can be accessed by clicking on the icon located at the lower left of every page of the website.
The agency has also initiated an in-depth review of the website’s content and will be addressing accessibility concerns and opportunities for improvement, with the goal of achieving Level AA compliance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines serve as a shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
Under Mayor Walsh, the BPDA has made significant upgrades to its website to create a user-friendly experience that increases transparency and efficiency, including:
A new timeline format for Article 80 development projects to display key milestone dates, documents, events, pictures, and public comment forms.
A new zoning viewer tool that allows people to better access and understand local zoning. We’ve added a new, street view feature to the zoning viewer that displays up-to-date street view imagery, so users can see existing buildings and infrastructure from a real life perspective.
An Article 80 Developer Portal in 2018 to help streamline processes for both BPDA staff and developers. Developers are now required to submit their materials through the portal at five key project status phases.
A new web-based 3D base model of the City of Boston, available for public use for free on our website. The 3D geographic information system (GIS) model supports the BPDA’s goals to implement new solutions to solve complex challenges facing Boston, while providing greater transparency and increased community engagement.
Updates to the Article 80 Accessibility Checklist, which was developed in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Disabilities Commission to provide a framework of best practices in accessibility for developers undergoing the Article 80 process. First adopted by the BPDA Board in 2014 and last updated in November 2019, the Article 80 Accessibility Checklist asks developers to ensure that accessibility is planned at the beginning of projects, rather than after a design is completed.
To learn more about the agency’s efforts to increase public transparency and accessibility, please visit our website here.