This month we were delighted to have our meet-up hosted by IBM iX taking place in the IBM Client Centre, with beautiful views of the River Thames.
Our meet-up focused on strategies for accessible and inclusive design and saw speakers from Barclays, Aviva, Gov Digital Service and IBM iX brought together sharing their experiences in this area.
Why accessibility is important and how to convince your organisation
To kick things off, Rocío Calvo Martín, Senior UX Researcher and Accessibility specialist at Aviva, addressed the importance of digital accessibility. She explained that to ignore accessibility means to ignore 20% of the population, which is the same as excluding everyone whose eyes are the colour brown!
She explained how it is also important from a legal perspective, and increasingly so, as data from the Bureau of Internet Accessibility shows lawsuits filed in federal court rose from 814 in 2017 to at least 2,258 in 2018, almost tripling in just one year.
Rocío also shared some of the techniques and tools that are currently being used at Aviva; from running empathic modelling workshops (including wearing gloves to simulate effects of arthritis) to holding talks with their users and accessibility experts.
Building the most accessible and inclusive FTSE company: the Barclays playbook
Next to the stage, David Caldwell, Senior Digital Accessibility Consultant at Barclays, gave a fascinating insight into the history of accessibility at his 327 year old company.
He explained that 2012 was the real tipping point for the company, in part led by a campaign by RNIB entitled ‘Make Money Talk’ which revealed the startling inability for blind or visually impaired users to withdraw money from cash machines, often resorting to giving away their pin to passers-by in the street to be able to take out their money.
David also shared that whilst parts of the organisation took on embracing the changes needed to make the company fully accessible and inclusive, other parts of the business ignored this entirely including their mobile app team. This resulted in significant costs, and time, having to redesign their mobile platform, which should have been considered from the beginning.
He also shared the rising focus on vulnerabilities – situations where an organisation has not decided for a particular user, of which the situation can be circumstantial (e.g. when suffering a bereavement).
David clarified the importance of vulnerability by sharing some startling statistics from the Association of British Insurers.
5 rules for delivering more accessible projects, and 5 more you might want to avoid
Our third speaker was Joshua Marshall, Freelance Digital Accessibility Specialist who truly earnt his stripes whilst leading on Government Digital Service as Head of Accessibility, creating the first prototype for gov.uk.
Joshua gave a very simple and honest answer to the question ‘What do we mean by accessible?’ in answering ‘Can a person use this thing in a way that works for them’. This answer has no mention of disability or laws but instead focuses entirely on the needs of the user, to ensure there are no barriers in allowing them to complete the task independently.
He then covered the main 5 things that he has learned about delivering accessible projects:
1) Delivery matters
2) Create and celebrate accessibility champions
3) Make it visible
4) Make it everyone’s responsibility
5) Focus on the big picture
He also reminded us to ‘Stop over thinking it. Accessibility is great design brought to life with solid code’. By using the web standard guidelines, semantic codes and correct elements that have already been created for us, it is fairly simple to create fully accessible sites.
7 tips to push and maintain the accessibility agenda in your organisation
Our final speaker for the evening was Luis Delgado, Agile Project Delivery Manager at IBM iX. His talk focused on tips for pushing and maintain the accessibility agenda and got us engaged by asking directly our thoughts on these tips and why these are important.
He emphasised the importance of building and maintaining relationships with accreditors, and ensuring they are involved in every new feature. Where possible accessible style guides should be created from the beginning and shared with developers and testers, ensuring they receive appropriate guidance.
Luis also explained how accessibility can be linked to business KPIs and that staff can achieve significant career progression by becoming subject matter experts, effectively levelling up in their field, which is not only good for business but also good for employee personal development.
From Mobile UX London, we are extremely grateful to all of our speakers. Thank you for taking the time to speak and to share what you have learnt working in the field of accessibility.
We would also like to thank IBM iX for hosting us for the meet-up.
Mobile UX London Conference: 21 November 2019
This year’s conference themes include:
- Mixed, Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Designing for Voice
- Artificial Intelligence and 5G
- UX Design principles
Throughout the day there will be over 15 talks, 4 masterclasses and 6 workshops to choose from.