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#AccessibilityToMe - Episode One [V6].mov

In votra Consulting listened to the voices of assisted software users and experts in accessibility.

We are on a mission to raise awareness

on accessibility and the importance of providing your staff with the knowledge

they need to create a quality experience for all of your users.

Over the next few months, we're going to be focusing on varying topics such as:

The most common challenges,

the benefits and paybacks, diversity and inclusion, and tips for getting started.

Episode one: The Importance of Accessibility.

#AccessibilityT oM e

I am Breandan Ward, I'm 42.

I grew up in Ireland and studied Commerce and French in Dublin,

before coming to London for the summer, and that summer lasted 10 years.

If I go to a website and it's for a large and reputable company

that says potentially we're really passionate about diversity and inclusion,

you know, we really care about our customers.

OK, good. Good to know that.

Good to hear those words.

When I go to the website and discover I can't get in.

The tags aren't there, the audio tags.

So I literally cannot scroll through it with my screen reader.

That means that the conversion of those

words of inclusion into action of inclusion is broken.

That process is broken.

So that makes me doubt the organisation, r ight.

So I doubt, OK.

So if you say you're inclusive, but the action in your website.

You know, the access to customers, isn't there, then it suggests to me

that you've got some dissonance going on in your organisation.

My name is Beatrice Simpson.

I've recently, within the last few years,

given up my job, because of my vision.

But I what I did before was I was the manager of an opticians for 24 years.

Accessibility to me means being able to

get on a computer, a phone or a laptop

or a tablet and do anything that a sighted person can do.

My name's Dave Horwood and I'm from Brighton.

I'm 31 years old.

Ultimately it is having the same opportunities as

able bodied people or people in the mainstream, people without

accessibility needs or without

a disability of any kind or health condition.

Yeah, it's about having that information, being able to access services really

in an easy and comfortable way and for the same price.

I guess ultimately that is important as well,

not to be financially worse off for any work arounds that you have to do .

My name is Lee Davies.

I'm currently working as a Junior

Accessibility Consultant for HMRC,

within the CDIO department team, Digital Inclusion, Accessibility and Standards Team.

It is important to consider other people's perspectives.

If you are a blind user and you can't use

a service, it does feel somewhat belittling.

You know that somebody has had a conscious choice to develop a software

in a certain way or a website in a certain way.

And for whatever reason, in this case,

if they don't choose to make it accessible,

then it can somewhat, be a depressing experience to find that you can't use it.

Well, my current role is a Web Accessibility Consultant with the RNIB.

£2 billion a year can be lost by ignoring people with disabilities.

So, for businesses who especially couldn't do more B2C,

who sell to c ustomers, they're missing out on a huge

of money, ignoring people with disabilities.

And the other st at is that 75 percent of disabled people and their families,

they actually walk away from businesses who have poor customer service or don't

have, or don't cater to people with disabilities.

So, you know, if you ignore your disabled customers,

then it's more, very likely that you're going to

a) lose a lot of money and b) you're going to lose

recurring business as well, because, you know, people with disabilities,

they will go somewhere else and so will their families usually.

I'm Gemma Bates and I was redeployed

from the Theatre at East Herts Council

into Digital and the Communications team.

When my boss had described to me

why we need accessibility,

it made sense to me that this is something

that you can't argue against, you know,

in a discrimination stance and making sure

that all our users, all the visitors to the site are able

to use the processes and the forms and the, and you know, look up information.

We have a lot of government

information online or council information that people will need.

And I think, from that perspective,

it' s a no brainer, you can't fight it in a sense.

You just need to make sure that everybody

can simply use the website as it is there to be used.

My name is Leila.

I'm the Digital Content Manager

at East Herts Council.

Of course, it's a legal obligation.

We have to do it.

There's no getting around that.

But also, I think it's the right thing to do.

And that's what I was say in my training courses.

The first thing I address is why?

Why do we need to make everything accessible?

Step one, we have to, it's legal.

But also it's the right thing to do.

Our residents, our businesses, should be able

to access information, in the way that they want to.

September 23rd, 2020, marked the deadline for public sector facing websites to be WCAG 2.1 AA complaint.

A survey conducted by Invotra Consulting

one month before the deadline revealed a staggering 67 percent of respondents

could not confidently say they were ready for the deadline.

Almost 50 percent of respondents had not carried out an audit on their website.

Furthermore, 35 percent either did not

have or weren't sure if they had an accessibility statement.

Despite the deadline having come and gone, there are still countless organisations

out there that still do not meet this criteria

and have no plan to do so.

I'm Andie Jordan.

I'm the Digital Accessibility Officer at Herefordshire Council.

Accessibility isn't a project with an end date at all.

It's an ongoing thing and it needs to be

embedded into the whole culture of the organisation.

It's a real cultural change for people,

to think that everything that they do when

they produce, in terms of any form of communication,

needs to be accessible.

And the way that we've been tackling

this is to run training courses.

I am Andrew Stewart.

I'm currently the Accessibility Lead for Internet.

W ithin the intranet team,

we look at accessibility as a never ending,

sort of constantly evolving thing,

and look at it sort of along the myth busting, of why it is we are doing it.

And it's not a big massive overhead you do with accessibility.

You are looking at your content,

you're building it up step by step,

you're thinking about it before you put it on the web page.

So one of the elements that we get time and time again

is the fact it is an additional overhead.

It's not, you're thinking about your content from the start.

You're writing for your audience.

My name's Craig Abbott.

I'm currently the Head of Accessibility at DWP.

It is often seen as a digital problem.

It's a digital thing.

And I think people often think,

oh, well, you know, for if we are building online services,

it needs to be accessible.

But it goes so much further than that.

I think there's a that a lot of stuff that people don't consider

when they're sharing documents between

colleagues or, you know, assisted digital roots on digital services.

You know, if people are phoning up, those sort of things,

all of these sort of channels still have to be accessible.

I think people don't often kind of grasp how far it goes.

It's more than just a digital thing.

A person, (a service provider)

concerned with the provision of a service to the public

or a section of the public ( for payment or not)

must not discriminate against a person

requiring the service by not providing the person with the service.

Quality Act 2010.

It doesn't matter if your audience is a resident trying to organise

a refuse collection with their local council, a customer trying to order

groceries online or a consumer simply trying to check their bank balance.

Everyone shares the same right to a positive experience when completing these actions.

Accessibility is so much more than a legal requirement or a financial return.

My name is Bryn Anderson and I'm

an Accessibility Specialist,

working in the retail sector.

I feel that in the sort of public sector space,

certainly in terms of things

that are publicly funded and for any organisation,

and I think you could stretch beyond public sector to parts of private.

Certainly in terms of supermarkets and public transport,

they have a requirement.

I mean, they have a mandate, to factor in everyone, you know.

So I think it's pretty cut and dry there.

I think that I should never have to

educate people within those spaces about my disability.

I mean, for the specifics, of course, that's fine.

I don't expect people to know that,

you know, people with albinism often have these types of conditions with their eyes.

However, I would expect a sort of certain

level of engagement around the topic not to be challenged on it, f or example.

My name is Jon Gibbons

and I'm a Digital Accessibility Consultant

of about 15 years.

Very often people come to accessibility

from a legal requirement perspective,

and I certainly find that that's one of the big challenges,

is unravelling the misunderstandings

around accessibility and raising awareness

of accessibility standards and best practices.

But really in breaking the perception

of accessibility as a legally incentivised

practice, rather than being on a par

with more well-established practices such

as cyber security, performance, documenting your code.

They're all things that we could do and we do do.

But they are things that we we don't have to do.

But we do because we know that is the right thing to do.

And I feel that accessibility sits there, but very often it's not seen as that.

It's often about legal,

reducing the risk of legal action for disability discrimination.

But accessibility is about more than

protecting yourself from legal action.

It is about more than the financial return on investment,

which studies have shown to be favourable.

And I think that work done with accessibility in mind, whatever sector you are in,

improves results, results in improvements for everybody, regardless of disability.

I feel that this is one of the reasons that training your staff is one of the most

important things that you can do to get accessibility done right.

And the way that it should be done,

as good design, as good development, just good business.

What my experience of this issue is,

it's often seen as a bolt on.

Oh, you know, well done

you're involved in the LGBT network.

Well done, you're involved in the various

business resource groups.

You know, they're often bolt- ons. Where is the integration,

where is the metrics around diverse hiring,

diverse customer needs satisfaction, where is the metrics?

How do we start to bring diversity and inclusion into the

heart and soul of the organisation's performance and measure it?

You know, there's that famous phrase,

if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

So I would say, you know, that's it.

If I'd a magic wand,

I would bring those kinds of metrics into the balance scorecard of every organisation

and say you are rated based on your performance

in all the regular things around, you know, commercial value and control

and people and all of this and diversity and inclusion.

And if you fail on that one, you fail on everything.

That's really what I think is needed.

Are you providing your teams

with the tools and knowledge they need to create accessible experiences,

and if so, are you measuring the quality of the output?

Discuss it with us.

We'd love to talk to you.

Inclusivity is not an optional extra.

Accessibility is not a project.

The time for change is now.

Coming up: Episode two. T he most common challenges surrounding accessibility.

In votra Consulting. H ere to support you

in creating accessible experiences for all.

Visit i nvotrac onsulting. com and use the #AccessibilityT oM e,

We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

T ogether, we can ignite positive change.