Tearfund: The human approach of Live Audits can find & fix user journey blockers that WCAG may miss

The brief

Tearfund is a charity that tackles poverty in some of the worlds’ poorest countries. Driving involvement in their campaigns and donations are key to their success.

Tearfund has two separate websites. Firstly, Tearfund.org, where people go to find out about the charity’s work and to donate. Secondly, learn.tearfund.org, a free resource hub hosting a wealth of research and practical guidance for anyone involved in humanitarian or international development work.

Both sites are critical to delivering against their aims. Tearfund knew that their audience included a high proportion of older people, those with cognitive impairments, and those for whom English is a second language. Having just re-launched their sites, they wanted to ensure that they were as inclusive as possible, that users could complete their donation journey, and to check if 3rd party components on their sites were getting in the way. They also wanted to ensure that everyone could access their PDF information and resources, or if they needed to provide alternatives.



Our approach

Tearfund had already reviewed WCAG. They now needed a more human approach – one which helped them understand their users better and find out what was preventing them completing their donations. A Live Audit could do this for them. 

We ran 3 sessions. The first with their team looked at the site experience from the perspective of people with different cognitive impairments. This identified that, while there were few High priority issues, lots of small accessibility ‘niggles’ made the user journey annoying for users, preventing them donating. It also became clear that, while the primary goal was to improve the sites’ digital accessibility, the online and offline experience couldn’t always be separate for users, so a holistic approach was needed. 

Our second two sessions built on these insights, working directly with Tearfund’s developers to fix issues identified in the first session, and with their PDF creators on how to create accessible PDFs. 

Working with Hassell Inclusion enabled us to really understand the user experience and business impact of accessibility issues on our sites, and to fix them. It was a great-value, informative and worthwhile experience.

The outcomes

Improvement in the donation process: By removing the ‘bumps’ in the donation journey, the ability to donate is now much easier, creating a more efficient, cost-effective way to donate (for both Tearfund and their supporters) than having to phone for help.

Improved user experience: By spending time with us thinking about how older people and people with cognitive disabilities would experience their websites, the Tearfund digital team have not just improved the user experience for these users but also their understanding of their needs.

Accessibility is about informed decisions: The insight that the CAPTCHA used on the site was presenting accessibility issues kicked off discussions about balancing accessibility with brand reputation, spam and privacy, and the exploration of innovative solutions.

Accessibility advice beyond digital: Digital doesn’t work in isolation and the blend of offline and online was critical. Realising that there was a non-digital channel for donations, Hassell Inclusion helped advise on making this accessible. Our experience in wider accessibility also meant we could support, advise and recommend on the provision of alternative formats, alongside making PDFs accessible.

Improved document accessibility: On the spot training of document creators to make documents accessible, has not just improved existing documents but also future-proofed the creation of new documents.

Intrigued? Check out our services...

Contact Us About Our Services
  • We provide three options: our new Snapshot Audit, our unique Live Accessibility Audit, and a prioritised WCAG Compliance Audit. Our Live Audit is an interactive review with your team which finds accessibility issues in your key customer journeys, allows you to document them in your bug-tracking system and even be fixed in the room. It’s quicker and more empowering for your product teams. And we can also train your QA staff to do full audits themselves.

  • A set of courses to empower and equip key members of the product team - for product managers, business analysts, designers, developers, content authors, QA testers, auditors, user testers and more. Choose which are most important to you, to ensure you deliver accessibility every time.

  • Expert Accessibility Support

    Key: Enable Process

    To build on your training, and help you with applying it on your projects we provide embedded expert support, via: on-call email response over the course of a project, or scheduled remote or on-site surgeries for your team to drop in and talk through issues with our specialists.