Using awards wins to increase buy-in for your accessibility work Accessibility recognition in mainstream awards proves it’s now mainstream
Like so many people, the Christmas and New Year break is a chance to stop, breathe and reflect.
In December we were delighted to invite some of our clients to our monthly webinar and talk to them about their accessibility journeys. It was an absolute delight to hear HSBC, Haleon, FleishmannHillard & Togetherall talk about their accessibility achievements, challenges, and journeys (video).
I love our monthly webinars and am incredibly proud of them, both for the time and excellence the team put in to make them and the passion and interest they create in the community.
But what’s always niggled me is that this accessibility community are often considered ‘accessibility enthusiasts’ – we are interested in accessibility, we know the benefits, and know that embracing accessibility is beneficial in so many ways. (If you’re reading this and are not sure, check out the webinars!)
And, while we always attract many new people to our webinars, accessibility is still not considered a non-negotiable for all companies – like the way that people think about usability or internet security.
Accessibility is becoming increasingly recognised in mainstream awards
So, when I look back at 2022, what I’m really delighted to see is that accessibility is becoming more recognised in the mainstream. We helped many clients enter awards last year. While some were disability or accessibility awards, most were mainstream awards where accessibility or inclusion were a category in themselves, or accessibility was recognised as an essential part of what good looked like in other categories.
In 2021, we helped Bequeathed get shortlisted for their accessibility work in the DL100 Awards Small-Medium Business Award.
In 2022 we helped HSBC get shortlisted for their accessibility work in: National Diversity Awards Diverse Company Award; and Personnel Today Learning & Development Award. And we helped HSBC win: Best Accessibility in the Digital Impact Awards; RIDI (Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative) Making a Difference (Private Sector) Award.
At Hassell Inclusion we won awards too: a Zero Project Award 2022 for our Digital Accessibility Maturity Scorecard; and I was shortlisted for Lifetime Achievement at the National Diversity Awards 2022.
The impact awards can have on buy-in for accessibility
While some entries won awards and others were just finalists, the important thing is that accessibility was there, in the room, at the table alongside other disciplines.
We help our clients win awards because it’s proof of the brilliant work they’re doing. And we know that proof enables them to gain better reputation to attract the right talent, better helps them show real delivery against their DE&I promises, and helps them get better internal investment into accessibility for teams and customers, as the value of their accessibility work is recognised.
Proof means you get to do more!
This is obviously brilliant for our clients, for the ‘do-ers’ of accessibility.
But taking a wider view, getting digital accessibility at the table alongside categories like best design, branding, website, communications or D&I, having conversations, making connections, and being present is critical to normalising not just accessibility as a discipline, but also reinforcing that the needs of people with disabilities (whether temporary or permanent) should be included in what “good” looks like in the digital world.
How this can help in 2023’s challenging economic climate
Is 2023 finally the year that accessibility becomes mainstream? I hope so – it certainly feels like accessibility is being recognised amongst a wider audience.
And, while 2023 will undoubtedly hold challenges across industry, maintaining the momentum of digital accessibility awareness and action may well help people through a challenging year.
If you’re interested in what we think 2023 holds for accessibility, join us for our 2023 Digital Accessibility Trends webinar on January 26th at 5pm UK-time.