Accessibility – Sharing knowledge between organisations

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Using Skyscanner and Scottish Enterprise brand colour palette to show the same visual explanation to a11y being used for short for accessibility
Accessibility can be written as a11y for short — 11 is the number of letters between the first and last letters

Heather Hepburn is the Accessibility Lead for Skyscanner and has been running their accessibility programme for just over a year.

Stéphanie Krus works as a Service Designer and is a member of the ‘Disability Positive’ group at Scottish Enterprise.

We ‘met’ virtually in October 2020 after a talk at the UCD Gathering from Heather Hepburn (Skyscanner) and Adi Latif (AbilityNet): “Digital Accessibility – How to get your organisation on the right track” 

Screenshot of a slide presenting Heather and Adi at the start of the talk
Slide from the talk during the UCD Gathering conference

We realised we had a lot we could share regarding how we address and improve accessibility in our organisations.  So we planned a knowledge sharing session which was held online on 27 January 2021 with about 20 people.

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From service designer to user researcher

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I started my career at Scottish Enterprise as a content designer. Actually, we were called ‘web content developers’ back then, before we really embraced the idea that there is more to content than just words on a web page. Then I joined the service design team as a service designer, and over the past few months, I’ve been doing a dual role as a service designer and user researcher.  

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How capabilities mapping helped us see the bigger picture

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The problem

We have a transformation programme underway across Scottish Enterprise. It was getting harder to see what needed to be done to deliver the bigger picture – rather than just bits of the jigsaw. In addition, many people were focusing solely on ‘the bit you need to build’, rather than seeing the whole service – end to end, online and offline.

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How we made it easier for businesses to find coronavirus funding

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The problem

The FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot (FBS) website had to adapt quickly when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic hit to ensure that businesses could access up-to-date information about what they needed to do and what support they could get.

Because new funds were constantly being offered, and guidance kept changing as we moved in and out of lockdown, we just added new content when changes were announced by the Scottish Government. We never had time to step back and think about the complete customer journey, and the coronavirus advice page had become very long and complex.

The challenge

The Scottish Government asked us to make it easier for businesses to access information about coronavirus funding and support on the FBS website, and they gave us two weeks to do it.

screenshots of heat maps for the desktop and mobile version of the coronavirus advice page
Heat maps are one of the tools we use to research how people use our website
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How to be a designer, teacher and parent at the same time

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A woman wearing a black dress with a white collar and burgundy tights sitting on a green and blue tartan carpet. She is leaning against a wall and has a laptop on her lap. She is also wearing a headset.
Me working in the hallway while my husband works in the office and my kids run around the living room

The title of this post is misleading. It implies that I’m going to provide you with tips on doing all these things well simultaneously. I’m not. It isn’t possible. What I am going to do is share how I have been balancing my job as a service designer with homeschooling my 5-year-old and chasing after my 2-year-old during this most recent lockdown.

Like many parents, I’ve been faced with an almost impossible task – do your job while also giving your children an education. If your working day is seven hours, and a school day is six hours, and a parenting day is around 12 hours, that’s 25 hours of work to fit within 24 hours. And that doesn’t include eating, sleeping, cooking, housework and this ‘self-care’ stuff that everyone is so big on these days.

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How we are improving accessibility in our practice

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When I started at Scottish Enterprise in May 2019, my team had a whole day of Accessibility training with Hassell Inclusion. This was all the User Researchers, UX/UI designers and Service Designers being trained.

The developers and QA testers also got their own training and the content authors had a full day of training as well.

We were not starting from scratch. A lot of people in the team are really into accessibility. But it should be everyone’s responsibility. We should not rely on just a few people with a keen interest to make sure we deliver on Accessibility.

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Getting an economic development agency to act like a service provider

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screenshot of the header of the Scottish Enterprise website with the statement mentioned in the text below

What does Scottish Enterprise do?

According to our website, “Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.”

And how do we do that?

By providing services.

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A user manual for Lindsay

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This post is about me and my preferences in my working life. 

This is the first blog I have ever written, so it’s kind of scary. 

It’s been three and a half years since I moved career into ‘digital’. It’s kind of odd looking back at a career that spans research and development, process development, business development and now service design. Some things about who I am, and what I enjoy, hold true whatever organisation or with whichever team I have worked with.  

How I got to here is outlined in my tube map:

Tube map showing Lindsay's journey to working in digital
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Why you shouldn’t make assumptions about content

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We recently launched the new GlobalScot website, and I was scrolling through it when I noticed something odd. On some of the case studies and articles, the formatting was off. There were no spaces between paragraphs or styling on the sub-headers.

Article called 'New platform to support women-led start-ups' with no spaces in between the paragraphs

I had a chat with my content design colleague and one of our developers. Initially we thought there was a technical issue that was causing the content to display incorrectly, but then we found a few case studies without spacing issues. That’s when we realised it wasn’t a technical issue – it was a training one.

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Neurodiversity (Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia) – Some simple tips

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Neurodiversity is not a well known term. It’s used to reflect one the diversity of ways people’s brain functions. There is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way. People with autism, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or dyslexia are part of this neurodiversity.

infinity symbol with pride colours
The infinity symbol represents autistic pride (Istock art)
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