Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

I was quite excited when I found out that this months UXPA event, celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), was being held at Barclays. At a GAAD event a couple of years ago I had picked up two booklets of accessibility personas created by Barclays so I was interested to hear more from them.

This was the 7th year of GAAD and this year there were 67 events happening across the world.

First to speak was Alladin Elteira from AbilityNet. He spoke to us about WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and the upcoming update taking us to WCAG 2.1.

Most accessibility issues come under one of four areas; vision, hearing, motor or cognitive.

While WCAG has always been quite vision focused, the update brings it into the present by including more mobile and touch screen guidance.

Cognitive issues are still only lightly covered, but there are rumours around them featuring more heavily in WCAG 3, but a lot of work will be be needed before this is ready.

David Caldwell from Barclays then spoke about vulnerable people, although he started by stating that it is not the individual who is vulnerable but the circumstance they are in which makes them vulnerable. This means we can all be vulnerable at some point, after all it does not have to be a permanent state. Just think how you feel when you go to a country where you do not speak the language and something goes wrong.

He believes there are three things they can do to help people in these circumstances.

Firstly people should feel safe to tell their bank that they are vulnerable, but this can be hard if people are scared they will lose their house for instance.

Secondly they could use data to spot behaviours or patterns that highlight issues.

And thirdly they should use real people to observe and spot issues.

The examples of possibilities using theses ideas were fascinating but I could not decide if I could trust the banks enough to buy into them, a point David also made.

Last up Katy Arnold and James Buller from the Home Office spoke about how you make public services for all. Accessibility is a civil right and with more government services moving online they have to make sure everyone can access them.

This really started when Katy set her team the task of including at least one in six participants with disabilities in testing.

They started by creating specialists - the team was split into pairs and given a subject to research. They then shared what they learnt with the rest of the team and then with the rest of the Home Office through Away Days.

They used the updated passport service as an example of the work they have been doing. It was great to hear how it has improved as I remember attending a UXPA event a few years ago when they talked about the issues they were having getting people to take their own photos.

This months talks were all inspiring and full of information I will take back to my team. I have already got some ideas how we can improve our website.

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