The wider picture of accessibility

Over Christmas I’ve been reflecting on this quote from Yacoob Woozeer in our team, from this month’s podcast:

“And even where people are being taught accessibility, it’s at a component level. They need to see the wider picture. So you need to be more aware of that user journey throughout the system, not just looking at individual aspects of it.”

This ‘wider picture’ of accessibility is key to individuals’ growing maturity in accessibility, as it is for organisations’ maturity.

You start with individual accessibility guidelines applied to components on pages, and pull out from there to understand how those components impact different people’s user experience of digital products, and pull out from there to look at how to embed the right skills and processes in product creation to deliver inclusive digital products, and pull out even further to the impact full access to those products can have on people’s lives.

At Hassell Inclusion we’re passionate about the positive impact of digital inclusion, and how to enable all organisations globally to achieve that impact in the most efficient way. So I thought it was worth posting up the summary video of our book on how BS 8878, and its international version ISO 30071-1, can help make this happen.

Watch the video here, or read the transcript below.


If you’d like to hear more of my video interviews with accessibility experts all over the world, sign up for them to be sent to you on our Book page.

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Transcript of video

[Voiceover: Jonathan Hassell, CEO of Hassell Inclusion]
Hi, my name’s Jonathan Hassell, and I’ve been embedding web and mobile accessibility in organisations for over 14 years. I captured
all my experience in BS 8878, and I’ve been around the world for the last 2 years, talking to people about all the aspects of the standard:
how it can help them to become competent and confident in accessibility; and what sorts of organisations it can help.
I’ve put it all in my new book ‘Including your missing 20% by embedding web and mobile accessibility’.

[Interviewer: Jonathan Hassell]
I’ve been to numerous presentations, by large organisations, who are saying how they are doing accessibility. And one of the things that comes out with pretty much all of those organisations is that the team who is doing all of that work did not exist until very recently. And when you ask them, “How did this 30 person team come into being?” they mention, in general, some sort of law.

[Interviewee: Lainey Feingold, Disability Rights Lawyer]
H&R Block shows that the Justice Department knows what we’ve been saying for many years: the Americans with Disabilities Act already requires accessible websites, and WCAG 2.0 AA is the standard.

[Voiceover: Jonathan Hassell]
Because of disability-discrimination laws, most people think of web-accessibility as risk mitigation. But avoiding losing doesn’t motivate most people. I like to think of accessibility as winning – winning a bigger audience for your product.

[Interviewee: Judith Fellowes, User Experience Researcher]
About 11% or 12% of the population have a disability. In reality people are saying that it’s more like 20% or 25% of the population.

[Interviewee; Cam Nicholl, Sales Director of Digital Accessibility Center]
In 5 years, 10 years’ time the three of us could sit together, I will probably have to use a magnifier, you may not be able to use a mouse. But our expectations…
If I did internet banking today, my expectation is that I will do internet banking tomorrow.

[Voiceover: Jonathan Hassell]
What’s more, making your products accessible could bring you the most loyal audience you’ve ever had, and thinking about their needs could help you be more innovative. So how are organisations implementing accessibility?

[Interviewee: Debra Ruh, CEO of Ruh Global Communications]
American companies, government agencies, universities are spending money to become accessible. We have seen, even over the last six months, the amount of people that are spending money on accessibility has really risen to the point that we’re having problems finding qualified people to actually do the work. But a lot of money is being wasted. So if a company spends $250,000 to be accessible and they get accessible, then the next month they’re not accessible any more, I believe
that’s a failure for our community. If we cannot embed it at the process level we will keep doing what we’re doing now. We’ll try and then we’ll kick ourselves out. We’ll try, then we’re out of compliance.

[Interviewer: Jonathan Hassell]
More expensive for that particular corporation, was all of the things that they were required to do. And there was a big long list of things. They had to have somebody who was responsible for accessibility reporting to the chief information officer. They had to train their staff. They had to get people in to audit things. They had to make sure that they embedded things in the process. I was looking down the list of things going: “Wow! That’s our standard, actually.” (Laughter)

[Interviewee: Makoto Ueki, Founder and President of Infoaxia Inc]
I think we are sharing the same issue.

[Interviewer: Jonathan Hassell]
We would like to use this right now in Japan, but you can’t do that with standards. We need companies to try it and see if it actually helps them. This book has a lot of organisations saying: “Yes, we’ve tried this and it really works. It helps us understand how this fits in with our company. It helps us train our staff. It helps us work with our suppliers.”

[Interviewee: David Banes, David Banes Access and Inclusion Services]
It’s about procurement, it’s about HR processes, it’s about the IT department. That’s an internal ecosystem that’s being built in the same way as we’re trying to build that, as you say, within a country and a region.

[Interviewee: Debra Ruh]
I believe it has major application in the States. If it was taken to the corporations they wouldn’t care where it came from, it would be something that they could implement. We need to embed this at the process level and it’s really not that complicated to do that. The British standards is a wonderful example. Just get everybody a copy of that and let’s do it!

[Voiceover: Jonathan Hassell]
But don’t just take their word for it. Find out for yourself by ordering the book now…

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