The future of accessibility – Digital Accessibility Experts Podcast Episode 2

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We’re delighted at the great response to our first Digital Accessibility Experts Podcast from Hassell Inclusion last month.

Having looked then at what we wished we’d have known when we got into accessibility, this month we look forwards – what do we see the future of accessibility to be, both the opportunities and the challenges?

We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it! And if you’d prefer to read the podcast, rather than listen to it, read the transcript.

4 of Hassell Inclusion's team enjoying time together

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Transcript of audio

Jonathan Hassell: Welcome to podcast two. Let’s just go round the table again, so I’ve got Rob Wemyss, I’ve got Yacoob Woozeer, Graham Armfield, and I’m Jonathan Hassell. Today we’re going to be discussing the future of accessibility. So, let’s start with: do we think the future is going to be rosy? Do we think accessibility is going to become more important, or maybe less important? Yac?

Yacoob Woozeer: I think as the population ages and there’s a greater percentage of older people with possibly more impairment, it will become more and more important. I think one of the concerns is can we actually keep up with the digital advances? So we’ve got things like VR augmented reality, NFC, smartphones. We are making a difference, but we’ve got to be clever about how we do that to keep up with all those technological advances.

Jonathan Hassell: Do we think that the technological advances that are coming along are going to make accessibility harder, or are there some opportunities there as well?

Graham Armfield: I think it could be both, Jonathan. As we’ve seen over the last few years with all the JavaScript frameworks out there that developers are using to build websites, every new one brings their own challenges. You can do wonderful things now with these things, produce some really rich and appealing looking websites quite easily, but then accessibility tends to get forgotten. So I think the challenge then in the future is going to be to keep up with these things. I think the future of accessibility is going to get harder, as well as getting better, because there’ll be more challenges that we’ll have to teach people to get round.

Jonathan Hassell: Rob, what do you think?

Rob Wemyss: I think the future’s bright…

Jonathan Hassell: The future’s Orange?

Rob Wemyss: It could be orange, yes. It could be purple. I think with more co-production of technology, using people who have actually got disabilities, designers, developers, embedded into teams, is going to ensure things like, what Graham’s touched on, frameworks, which everybody’s using now, will become more accessible as we have somebody embedded in there who is that champion for actually making sure that the product they’re building is properly accessible. So I do think we have a bright future here, and we need more people to be involved in accessibility to make this happen.

Jonathan Hassell: How do we make that happen? How do we bring that future into the moment? How do we enable people to understand that involving, say, somebody with a disability in the design process would be a good thing? Graham?

Graham Armfield: If organisations are going to use a tool like React or Angular or whatever like that, and they’ve got a few websites that they’re building, then why not invest a bit of time in doing some components at the start, rather than reinventing the wheel every time you’re doing a project. People with disabilities could actually get in there and help at that stage, right. And then each time then a project wants to use these bits and pieces they’d already been through some sort of useful process, so that there’s a much better chance that the websites that you’ll end up with will be accessible.

Jonathan Hassell: Most of us worked on looking at a component library a while ago. The conversations between all of us I think were really, really interesting. You know, what’s the best way of making an accessible spinner, or a date picker? What we were doing there was something really, really interesting, in that we were trying to say if we can sort some of these issues where we decide what’s going to be the best thing and then put it there in the component we can then move on to something that is, you know, to something bigger than that.

Yacoob Woozeer: Yes, it’s really, really important. We’re talking about big organisations who are embedding accessibility. Where you look at smaller kind of third sector organisations or SMEs, they haven’t necessarily got the experience. So where there’s a component library where we can just say to them, “If you pick these aspects it’s going to be accessible,” that’s what some of these people need. There are so many sites now where you can build your own website, you can be online in a matter of minutes, but they don’t necessarily cater for accessibility. So the more we can push the accessible components the better it’ll be for those organisations.

Jonathan Hassell: Yac, you’ve been working with components in some of the projects sort of recently, and your thing has been about taking those components and making sure that people are using them in the right way.

Yacoob Woozeer: Just because you have all these accessible components together doesn’t mean your end product will be accessible. What people need to be aware of is looking at the end to end journey, rather than looking at things in isolation. So my rubbish analogy is always: think about the car. Yes, test the wheels, test the seats, test the brakes. Fantastic, but when you get in it to drive it away, if it doesn’t fit together properly it’s going nowhere. So you’ve got to be aware of the entire thing, the whole journey.

Jonathan Hassell: We touched on testing there for a moment. There’s a huge amount of accessibility testing tools being created at the moment it seems. Every day there is a new sort of automated tool. I was on LinkedIn yesterday with a guy in Israel. In Israel you can’t even sort of get a building created or a website created unless it’s actually kind of tested all the way through. So they’re coming up with so many tools to get tested very easily, or as they claim, accessibility kind of done “for free”. I mean, are we going to be out of a job in a few years’ time because AI has just kind of like taken everything to a whole new dimension?

Rob Wemyss: It’s really, really interesting how AI could potentially help with this, but where does it help? Is it with a developer, things being flagged up as they’re writing the code? I think we need to be earlier than development. We need tools at… once we’ve validated design, then those designs are a blueprint for going into development. So we’re giving the developers a chance of building accessible products just now, and finding that sweet spot between actually using the correct component for the job and it being designed to meet with brand.

Jonathan Hassell: We were looking at that this morning and it was really interesting. What we were talking about was you can either get something that’s designed beautifully and on brand, which you need to create yourself as a widget, or you use the native component, and the native component looks awful. Why should that be the case? I mean, surely people could actually be redesigning those native components so that people would want to use them and not need to have to kind of like DIY. The reason they’re doing that is because they don’t like what they’ve got at the moment. Could the future actually be that the native components are so great nobody would bother using anything different?

Graham Armfield: Yes, I’ve got some views on that one. I’ve worked with a lot of development teams and the most common control that I’ve seen being tried to have be replicated is the select box, like a dropdown list. And they are very difficult to actually style nicely, and they’re very limited as to what they can do. You can’t have anything apart from just plain text in the options for a dropdown list – the native control, this is. And so people who want to make their sites more attractive, where it’s an international website and it’s got things like currencies, so it’s got the actual flag of the country in there. It makes for a very attractive looking control, but you just can’t do that with a native control because you can’t put images or icons or whatever into the options.

I think it would be really useful if we could take the existing HTML controls and relax the rules around what you can do with these things. Because a lot of the accessibility issues I see are because people try and replicate them in different ways and either they don’t really take any notice of any accessibility so they’re a complete disaster, or they’ll try and use like ARIA attributes in them, but as we all know, if you don’t get the ARIA attributes spot on then the control is just as inaccessible as it would be without them there.

And I think the browser manufacturers, Microsoft, Mozilla and so on… It would be great if they could actually get together and say, “Look, let’s see how we can do this.” Because I think it would be possible to do that quite easily. And an accordion is another popular model you see on a lot of web pages. If there was a native accordion thing you could do that would be great, so you didn’t have to mess about with JavaScript and ARIA to get it to work properly, it just was a native control, say like the dropdown or a checkbox or something like that. I think there’s a whole stack of where the native controls could do with like a “version two” really. And I think then, obviously it would take a little while for it to all bed in, but people could start using those and we could get on to solving other issues really.

Jonathan Hassell: Yes, because I mean there are a lot of issues to solve, right? If we just look at where accessibility focuses most of its time at the moment we’re still very much around “let’s make sure everything works for screen reader users, and maybe we’ll get kind of like keyboard users in there as well, as kind of like a freebie whilst we’re doing it”.

Yac, you’re more interested a lot of the time on the users that get kind of forgotten. So people with cognitive impairments, people with ADHD, Asperger’s or whatever. Are there things that we can do in the future to actually, if you like, rebalance accessibility to the needs of everybody, rather than the needs of just those few?

Yacoob Woozeer: Yes, I think so. I think by trying to get something that works for everyone in some respects it becomes quite boring. And what I’ve seen with a lot of companies is they want their brand or they want something to be exciting, but then they feel that accessibility is a blocker in that respect. You could argue people who want a certain contrast, maybe some people with dyslexia don’t want that, so there are kind of incompatible needs there. And going back to your point about people with different cognitive impairments, you might have to build a site completely differently to get it to work for that audience, but it then gets into the realms of: “well that’s more expensive, it’s more difficult to maintain”.

So, you know, we’ve got this technology now, I would like to see – and maybe this is me living in cloud cuckoo land, which I do most of the time – something where you could say look, I go onto this website and I choose what’s going to work best for me: I’ve got cognitive impairment, I’ve a visual impairment, a motor impairment. And it styles in a different way depending on what I need. Not just the same dropdown or select box for absolutely everyone. I might want an image on it if I’ve a cognitive impairment. I might want to remove images completely if I’m visually impaired.

And there just seems to be too much, bland is the wrong word, but too much of a: “let’s just have these very, very kind of boring stagnant controls that don’t adapt for people”. We’ve got masses of technology, you know, VR now, augmented reality, most people have smartphones, we should be able to do a bit more to make accessibility a bit more exciting. And I think if we can do that it’s going to help companies get things more accessible because they’ll see it’s not a blocker, it’s something they can do which will get people onboard.

Jonathan Hassell: Certainly from my perspective, mobile has been massively helpful in enabling people to understand that actually we may all have accessibility needs at different times. You know, I’m driving the car, I really shouldn’t be looking at the screen on my mobile phone, listening to it is a much better idea. You know, I’m visually impaired because I should be looking out of the windscreen.

That’s almost an old insight now. I mean, mobile has been around for a long time. We’ve got those Amazon Echoes sitting in our kitchens and things like that, we’ve got VR, we’ve got AR. Do you see some of these sort of new technologies as enabling people to understand that accessibility is something that they themselves want? Are there real opportunities there?

Rob Wemyss: There are definitely opportunities there.  My kids are better at interacting with Siri than I am. But I see smartphones absolutely as the future as well and adapting to people’s needs, even subconsciously. I need text increased on my phone and yes, I’ve got it set, but it doesn’t always work on each individual website. That should be something we should be able to fix across the plane so I get a good experience – every time I’m looking at my phone it’s at the right size for me. I’m really, really excited about where accessibility in mobile’s going in the future and it’s something that we’re focussing on now.

Jonathan Hassell: Mobile I think is fascinating, I mean we’ve all talked about the way that that has turned really the whole idea of getting information on its head. If we can get information, say for example in brain-machine interfaces or, I don’t know… Google Glass kind of came and went. It was kind of interesting. But there are some interesting things happening around augmented reality where people are getting information literally in their field of view, which can help them sort of navigate around. Are there things here that we should be thinking, wow, let’s spend our time on that rather than the web, for example?

Yacoob Woozeer: I think anything like the voice interfaces – so we’re talking Siri, Google, obviously Alexa – that is helpful for people without disabilities, always works well, because it become a kind of thing where this is great for people with disabilities, it’s really useful, but people without those disabilities also use it. And you’re then not having to sell to a niche market. Google Glass was useful for some people, but where you can bring something out and everyone will just kind of use it without thinking, “Ah, this is helping disabled people,” it just works so much better.

So we need to be looking at things where we can say we’re making this better, not just for people with impairments and disabilities, but everyone. So things you’ve alluded to, for example, voice interfaces, feedback. Rob’s talked about AI changing things. Obviously, Graham’s talked about component libraries. If there was some way that things could be chosen for a person through an AI assistant and you wouldn’t even have to think about it going forward, it would just do it for you, no one would worry about “oh I’ve got to program this, I’ve got to do all that”.

Graham Armfield: What we’re pointing at here is actually in some ways like a super-plus set of existing content management systems aren’t we? Because like for example products like WordPress and Drupal, where you can build websites and it stores the content in a database… What we’re actually looking at here is potentially if we could break the link between the database and a front-end that appears in someone’s website and just have the content in the database and then people can access that database through whatever API or method that they want. Whether it’s like, yes, looking at it on their mobile phone or having their mobile phone read it to them, or looking at it through their television, or listening to it through the radio or something like this. So that is a potential way of delivering content in the future then that’s multimodal so that we’re not so much tied into the web, because there are lots of different ways of presenting the information. And then people can build their own accessibility from a series of apps maybe or tools.

Jonathan Hassell: One of the things that I’m always quite interested in is where the web is actually going to go. Because the way we do websites at the moment, you know, you come to a website to do something, but who’s to say that the way that we do stuff at the moment is the best way? If I’m trying to book a flight I would actually prefer kind of like a personal assistant to do that for me, where I say to them, “Go off and find all of the possibilities and then come back to me with all of the options and then I’ll take it through from there.” And I’m not talking about kind of like a price comparison website for flights, I’m talking about all of this information might be on multiple websites, “I want you to go out there and seek things for me and bring it back to me in a format that works for me.”

Graham Armfield:  To have your very own aggregator basically.

Jonathan Hassell: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that sort of thing has been talked about a lot, but I’ve never seen it really yet. I mean, some chatbots are kind of getting places where they can help you, but everything seems to be very kind of branded, you know.

Graham Armfield: Yes. I think that’s the key to it, is that companies perhaps are fearful of losing control- They’ve got this data, right, the information about booking flights, but as well as booking the flights they also want you to click on this advert and that as well. Or know it’s them that’s doing you the favour. If we’ve got an aggregator that’s coming in and it’s not telling you where the information is coming from, then that link between the company that actually had that information in the first place and ‘the client’ (and I put my fingers up in inverted commas there) it’s broken really.

So, I used to work with an aggregator many years ago selling insurance, one of the early ones. And you always knew when you saw the quotes which insurance company it was all from and everything like that. But if you’re booking flights, say on Norwegian Airlines, just to quote a random airline, you’re not necessarily booking it through Norwegian Airlines, it could be through any interface really.

Jonathan Hassell: I mean, in the end it really comes down to what the client wants, rather than what the websites want.

Graham Armfield: Exactly.

Jonathan Hassell: For me I think the interesting thing about a lot of these things is stuff becomes more personalised to the user, and if we get into the idea that personalisation is a great thing, then actually diversity becomes just normal. And if I want things in a particular way that could be because I have a preference for that, or it could be because I have a disability that is the reason behind that preference.

I always get quite excited about the idea that some of the places where the intelligence in interfaces can take us means that everything is more designed for me. And if we expand that into its best term, effectively everybody gets an accessible experience because it’s all about what they need at that point.

Which leads me on to a question. Do we want to still be talking about accessibility in say, ten years’ time? Or do we think that the term might get outdated and that it might be replaced by something different?

Rob Wemyss: I think as a term not many people love the word accessibility.

Jonathan Hassell: Really? (Laughter) Seriously, there are people out there that don’t love-?

Rob Wemyss: Shock horror.

Jonathan Hassell: Shock horror, shock horror.

Rob Wemyss: Yes, I think we can come up with something better, and it’s all about business as- It’s just happening, rather than being siloed. Yes, it needs to exist, but it can exist as a different term, it’s part of culture. We’re changing culture in organisations and I think, yes, we need to be updating the language as we go.

Jonathan Hassell: Yes, I hope so. I mean, I want to be out of a job really. I don’t know about you guys, but-

Yacoob Woozeer: Not yet, not yet (laughter).

Jonathan Hassell: I want accessibility to be so normal and for us to have converted people, if you like, into thinking that the sort of stuff that we do in accessibility is just what good product design looks like. That nobody talks about accessibility at all because it’s just part of what they do.

Graham Armfield: Because everyone’s doing it.

Jonathan Hassell: Everyone’s doing it.

Graham Armfield: I think that would be the ideal endpoint wouldn’t it, is that basically we’ll have, not just us obviously, but we’ll have successfully got everyone to embrace it and everyone will be doing it, right? So they’ll all get it right. I think the reality, sadly, is that that won’t happen within the next ten years. I think a lot more companies will get it. I notice there’s a lot more interest in it when I’m doing presentations and training now. I think a lot more people are aware of it, and a lot more people see that it’s becoming more and more important all the time. And that’s something that’s starting to snowball.

There’s been so many false dawns for accessibility over the years, and I think now it really is starting to snowball now. And I think that’s good, and the next few years are going to be really interesting. But I don’t think that we’re going to have won the battle in ten years, I think it’s going to take longer than that.

The thing is also, as we were talking about earlier, is that obviously our ways of consuming information are changing. And in ten years’ time, in 20 years’ time, our smartphones, we might not use them anymore, because we’re using something else now, which might also bring its inherent problems I think.

Jonathan Hassell: So challenges and opportunities, yes.

Yacoob Woozeer: Yes, I totally agree with Graham. I think we will get there in time, I think the difficulty is at the moment there still needs to be a kind of lot of cajoling, in some cases threatening, in some cases kind of selling the business case for accessibility. So there are organisations at the moment who, shock horror, might be totally unaware that their website is inaccessible. And I’ve talked to lots of disability groups and what will happen is someone will just not use that site, they will give up and go somewhere else – for example, in the case of a supermarket. So if they are never aware the site is inaccessible why would they ever change?

Graham Armfield: Yes.

Yacoob Woozeer: And Jonathan and I have discussed kind of case law, and there are lots of people who specialise in that area. There isn’t much in British case law at the moment to force people down a certain route to make this accessible. We’ll get into standards discussions another time, but there are EU directives coming in, but how much have they got in the way of teeth? That if you don’t need those you’re going to be fined or you’re going to do something else. So a lot of companies are just told, change something, and in six months’ time they might change something but then go back to their old ways again.

So it would be ideal to think that somehow everyone’s just going to miraculously change. I think peer review will play a part, that you will stop using sites that are inaccessible, and through word of mouth other people will as well. But it’s a difficult one to see how sites that are fundamentally inaccessible, but are used by lots of people without disabilities, are suddenly going to change overnight. And we’ve got to be clever in how we kind of fight those battles to make those people change. We’ve got to sell it to them and in some ways persuade them it’s the right thing to do.

Graham Armfield: I think that’s a really good point, because looking at it as a parallel with GDPR for example, right, which has come in just earlier this year. There are severe penalties now for invasions of privacy or loss of data, and so companies are having to take that unbelievably seriously. There is nothing comparable there for accessibility, and yet accessibility has kind of been in the public domain, if you will, for like 20, 25 years, or even more years or whatever.

Jonathan Hassell: So, why is that? GDPR kind of came out of nowhere and then suddenly took over, well pretty much that month, where everybody was just doing- I mean, how many emails did you get that month?

Graham Armfield: Yes.

Jonathan Hassell: It became part of what you absolutely had to do. Accessibility’s never really done that has it?

Yacoob Woozeer: It’s never been legislated for. There are lots of standards, there are lots of people saying you have to do it, but still now to this day, if you don’t do it the penalties for not doing it are either nothing or so insignificant to a company making millions that it’s not worth their time and effort to do. Lots of people are paid in out of court settlements, and they are requested to sign something saying they will not talk about what has happened. So there isn’t the publicity. In the States there’s more publicity around legal cases for people who can’t access content, but not so much over here. And until it becomes kind of part of the norm… So if we go back to the component libraries, if we go back to selling the business case, there are still organisations who won’t do it, and we have to think as well, there are organisations who can’t do it.

So SMEs, if you’re a small business, I’ll use an example of someone I know who’s a mechanic. He’s got a small website, he knows nothing about accessibility. He hasn’t got the knowledge, the skills, the resources, time, to get someone in to look at that website, to work out if it’s accessible or not. And then, even if he did, the costs would be prohibitive for him to do that.

Jonathan Hassell: Unless he does the sort of thing that Graham and I have been talking about for years, which is that beyond the components really, embedding accessibility in the simplest ways of making a website. So the reason, as I say, why I met Graham in the first place, was when I left the BBC and I set up Hassell Inclusion loads of people said, “I can make you an accessible website,” and I said, “No, I want to know what SMEs do.” And SMEs, certainly at the time (and I think still a lot now), get a very, very cheap website that’s probably off WordPress or some other website builder. So maybe the future is for us to all really try and get all of those kind of like website building…

Graham Armfield:  I think that would help a lot, because WordPress is used by such a huge percentage of websites now. I think it’s approaching 30% of all websites in the world are running on WordPress. And so if you can make that one tool a lot more accessible, and accessible so that anyone who happens to pick up a WordPress theme, as they’re known, which is effectively the template for your website, and then drop your content into it and customise it with your logo and with your strapline and what have you like that. And the navigation within the site, so you can add the pages and it will automatically build the navigation for you.

If that can all work accessibly out of the box then we’re going to have solved a lot of the issues just like that without having to sort of pull in specialists. Because I mean pragmatically you’ve got a long way down the road there haven’t you? And sure, if you’re actually adding the content, if your engineer or mechanic friend is adding content to his website (let’s assume it’s a he), and then there are things that he needs to do to kind of keep it onside if you like, but then at least the foundations are there.

Jonathan Hassell: Yes.

Yacoob Woozeer: I totally agree, I think to get to that point though we’ve got to look at something like education, because we all know we’re involved in accessibility through different routes, but still people I talk to who are in development courses, accessibility’s hardly ever mentioned. It’s not part of a course you go on, you don’t get an MSc with a module in accessibility, it doesn’t happen. So developers are still being churned out knowing nothing about accessibility, nothing about standards. So then trying to go back and change some of the coding habits they’ve got, to make them build more accessible content, even with components, is really difficult.

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.

Jonathan Hassell: I mean, I completely agree, but on the other side of that there are some really good things that are happening out there.  So the London Accessibility Meetup, loads of people who are kind of, for want of a better word, young and fresh and cool and hip-

Rob Wemyss: Unlike us.

Jonathan Hassell: Yes, unlike us. Us, like, old people. (Laughter) They are spending their evenings going to learn about accessibility. Somehow accessibility is, for want of a better word, becoming a little bit more cool. And I think there are real opportunities there. I guess the thing that we’re all kind of focused on and thinking about is how to take that interest and actually sort of bring people through, train people through, mentor people through. So if they didn’t get it at university because the universities, hey, forgot about it, because they just didn’t get with the programme, people seem to be voting with their feet a little bit and coming in our direction. How did we become cool?

Yacoob Woozeer: We are becoming cool, but that government meetup is lots of people in government organisations who have to abide by the EU directive. I’d be very interested to know how many people outside of public sector organisations are going to something similar. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that a lot of people are interested in accessibility. As we’ve talked about before, it’s very challenging, it’s very rewarding. But how many people are coming from financial institutes, from hospitals, from businesses, from supermarkets, who are content designers, developers, to those same kinds of meetups? They might be, we’re just not aware of it.

Graham Armfield: I don’t think that people have got places to go. I mean, I think people know about the accessibility conferences and meetups, and Jonathan and I, and Rob, and Yac, we’ve been to loads. I meet people, all kinds of people, at presentations and conferences that I speak at, and I’ve noticed that people are interested, and they’re from small businesses, they’re from charities, and there is nowhere really for them to go if they’re not part of that, like they don’t move in the right circles and things. So often, people do come up to me afterwards expressing interest, but there isn’t really anywhere that we can offer them at the moment. Maybe we should work towards that really.

Jonathan Hassell: I think that would be a good thing, I mean certainly I think more information is becoming available out there, some e-learning courses and things like that. But I think more could be done. And we’re certainly kind of racking our brains here to try and work out the best ways of, I guess, taking- I want to bottle the insights in your heads and the experience that you’ve got and just let it out there. It’s one of the reasons-

Yacoob Woozeer: That’s slightly worrying (Laughter)

Jonathan Hassell: Exactly. But it’s one of the reasons we do these podcasts, is to try and kind of share this sort of stuff with people and maybe this is just one of those ways where people will either kind of like, you know, just kind of hear something that someone says and say, “Yeah, actually, I haven’t thought of things in that way,” or be able to kind of look at this and say, “I’ve learnt a whole lot more that I didn’t know.” Yac, as you were saying, it’s that breadth of knowledge that I think is really important in these things.

So, just a final thing… So in five years’ time is there one thing that you would really, really hope that will have happened in accessibility that you think will really kind of make the difference? Yac?

Yacoob Woozeer: So, I’m going to bang the drum for education, which is kind of my pet project. So there are lots and lots of school sites now where homework is provided online, and for the most part none of those are accessible. And I think at the grassroots level we need to be getting accessibility right there, so people are seeing that, they’re brought up with things being accessible so it’s not something that’s different when they get older and want to go into things like accessibility or development. It’s just, as you described, Jonathan, the normal thing to be doing.

But where those things are broken at the very start, I’m not saying that’s influencing the future developers, but if you see a website where your child has a disability and you can’t use that for some reason and things have to be printed, it’s not a good advert for accessibility going forward. So we need to start at that very early level and make those things right, and then look at the other things going forward.

Jonathan Hassell: Cool. Graham? What do you want to see?

Graham Armfield: Well actually, I wanted to say something along those lines. Yac has put it very eloquently for me. I’ve actually built a website for a school, for my eldest daughter many years ago that was accessible. And the head teacher at the time was quite, you know, because the previous one they had was not at all accessible, and she was very keen on that and everything like that and so it became very important to her.

I think it is important. My daughter… They also, in their primary school they looked at language. They did a different language every term. And one of the languages they did was BSL, and so they studied BSL for a few weeks. And I thought that was great, because then it became the norm.

And I think getting in early, and I think then people would sort of just expect that stuff would be accessible or inclusive or whatever like that. It’s not a strange thing, you know. And if people can demand it and expect it, as well as like people like us saying, you know, “We can help you out with this, right,” then it’s two sides of a sandwich isn’t it?

Jonathan Hassell: Rob? What would you want to see?

Rob Wemyss:  Two things I’d like to see. The first one is being able to tell organisations how many people they’re potentially excluding accurately with data. It’s something we struggle to do when people turn around and say, “Well, how many people are we talking about here?” Actually having that data behind that – I’m sure we can solve that problem.

And the second thing is organisations using accessibility, inclusive design, as a tool to come up with better solutions in the future. So we’ve solved a lot of the technical problems, we’re now using the extreme cases to be thinking about designing better experiences for people.

Jonathan Hassell: Cool. And I think for me I want case studies actually. I want case studies of organisations who have got good at this, saying, “You know what? This has been brilliant for us as a business.” I want organisations who’ve been through the whole journey from “we had no idea”, to “we’re now really, really good at this, and actually it’s taken us in these new areas of innovation. It’s broken us out of the same old websites that everyone else is doing”. I want somebody to say, “The success of our organisation is because we took this seriously and look at where it’s brought us.” That’s the thing I would love to see. And I think we’re actually working with some of those organisations. So, case studies coming soon I guess.

Thank you so much guys. Graham, Yac, Rob, me, Jonathan Hassell. Thank you so much for listening to our podcast and we will see you next time. Thank you.

Next month we’ll be discussing accessibility myths. Join us then.