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"What is the business case for accessibility"

"What is the business case for accessibility"

A 20 minute talk given at responsiveconf.

Alice Bartlett

June 25, 2015
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  1. Alice Bartlett
    Senior Developer
    Government Digital Service
    @alicebartlett

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  2. I’m from the
    Government Digital
    Service
    GDS

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  3. GDS
    “What is the business case for
    accessibility?”

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  4. GDS
    This isn’t a bad question

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  5. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK

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  6. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”

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  7. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is hard

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  8. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is hard
    4. You don’t need a business case

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  9. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is hard
    4. You don’t need a business case

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  10. GDS
    The best place to
    find government
    services and
    information

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  11. GDS
    19 million visits a week

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  12. GDS
    19 million visits a week
    Home to 330 departments and organisations

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  13. GDS
    19 million visits a week
    Home to 330 departments and organisations
    Saving £62 million per year

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  14. GDS
    We’ve tried to make GOV.UK
    accessible as possible

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  15. GDS
    But it hasn’t always been this
    way

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  16. GDS
    The GOV.UK alpha
    was terrible for
    accessibility

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  17. GDS
    And we got a massive kicking
    for it

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  18. –Leisa Richelt
    http://www.disambiguity.com/alphagov/
    Ultimately, the AlphaGov
    prototype doesn’t make any
    significant attempt at
    achieving accessibility

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  19. https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2011/05/06/accessibility/
    It is a crying shame that good
    money has been wasted on this
    run of the mill, unimaginative and
    pointless website.
    Stop wasting my money!

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  20. GDS
    In the beta we built for inclusion
    In the beta, we built
    for inclusion

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  21. - Tom Loosemore, 2011
    We want to make the most
    easy to use, accessible
    government website there has
    ever been.

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  22. GDS
    And so building for inclusion
    became part of how we worked

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  23. GDS
    Regular testing with people with
    a broad spectrum of abilities

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  24. GDS
    Screen reader training

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  25. Government Digital Service
    Listed below are our design principles and examples of how we’ve used them so far. These build on,
    and add to, our original 7 digital principles.
    Start with needs*
    Do less
    Design with data
    Do the hard work to make it simple
    Iterate. Then iterate again.
    Build for inclusion
    Understand context
    Build digital services, not websites
    Be consistent, not uniform
    Make things open: it makes things better
    Last updated 2 July 2012
    ALPHA
    Design Principles
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    Government Digital Service
    Listed below are our design principles and examples of how we’ve used them so far. These build on,
    and add to, our original 7 digital principles.
    Start with needs*
    Do less
    Design with data
    Do the hard work to make it simple
    Iterate. Then iterate again.
    Build for inclusion
    Understand context
    Build digital services, not websites
    Be consistent, not uniform
    Make things open: it makes things better
    GOV.UK
    Last updated 2 July 2012
    ALPHA
    Design Principles
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    Search
    GDS
    www.gov.uk/design-principles

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  26. -GDS Design Principles
    Accessible design is good design.
    We should build a product that's as
    inclusive, legible and readable as
    possible. If we have to sacrifice
    elegance – so be it.

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  27. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is hard
    4. You don’t need a business case

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  28. GDS
    Let’s keep this brief, but so
    we’re all on the same page…

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  29. GDS
    visual
    hearing

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  30. GDS
    visual
    hearing
    motor

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  31. GDS
    visual
    hearing
    motor
    cognitive

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  32. GDS
    This way of talking about users with
    accessibility needs is problematic

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  33. Anne Gibson
    We can reframe accessibility
    in terms of what we provide,
    not what other people lack.

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  34. GDS
    Anne Gibson has
    written about this
    over on A List Apart

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  35. GDS
    It’s better to say “we should make
    our site accessible on as many
    inputs and outputs as possible”

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  36. GDS
    Accessibility needs can be long
    term

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  37. GDS
    You have epilepsy

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  38. GDS
    You’re blind

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  39. GDS
    You have learning difficulties

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  40. GDS
    Accessibility needs can be
    temporary

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  41. GDS
    You have a migraine

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  42. GDS
    You break your arm

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  43. GDS
    You develop RSI

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  44. GDS
    You’re in a very noisy and
    chaotic environment

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  45. GDS
    Give users as many ways as
    possible to access your website

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  46. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is
    hard
    4. You don’t need a business case

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  47. GDS
    I wanted to come here and
    say…

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  48. Alice Bartlett, parallel universe
    Here is your magic answer to
    why making your site
    accessible will make you filthy
    rich

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  49. GDS
    That was naïve

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  50. GDS
    A good business case should take a
    problem you can prove you have and
    solve it in the most cost effective way

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  51. GDS
    A good business case should
    go something like this:

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  52. GDS
    Step 1:
    You have a problem

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  53. GDS
    We need more money
    We need more ad impressions
    We need people to think of us favourably
    We are currently at high risk of being sued
    We need to spend less on maintenance
    etc

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  54. GDS
    Step 2:
    You come up with some solutions to
    your problem

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  55. GDS
    This includes case studies,
    cost / benefit analysis, data

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  56. GDS
    Step 3:
    You conclude by saying which of the
    possible solutions is the best

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  57. GDS
    And your best solution is…

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  58. We should solve X by
    improving the accessibility of
    our site

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  59. We should solve X

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  60. GDS
    Anecdotally there are loads of
    problems that can be solved by
    making your site more accessible

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  61. GDS
    We need better SEO!

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  62. GDS
    We need to lower our
    maintenance costs!

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  63. GDS
    We’re missing out on revenue
    from seniors!

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  64. GDS
    We’re missing out on revenue from
    people with accessibility needs!

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  65. GDS
    We need to improve our image!

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  66. GDS
    (the list goes on)

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  67. GDS
    But when you start writing a
    business case for these it gets a lot
    trickier

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  68. GDS
    Because there isn’t a whole lot of evidence
    that making a site accessible is the most cost
    effective way to solve any of these problems

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  69. GDS
    And that’s what a good business
    case should do

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  70. GDS
    Take a problem you definitely
    have

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  71. GDS
    And solve it in the most cost
    effective way possible

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  72. GDS
    In fact, the only well evidenced business
    case that I can find for making your site
    accessible is avoiding litigation

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  73. GDS
    The RNIB has a handy explainer:
    http://www.rnib.org.uk/services-we-offer-
    advice-professionals/equality-act-compliance

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  74. GDS
    The Equality Act (2010)

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  75. GDS
    The duty to make reasonable
    adjustments

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  76. GDS
    In the public sector we are also
    bound by the Public Sector equality
    Duty

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  77. GDS
    The litigation angle rests on balancing
    the probability that you’ll get sued vs
    the cost of making your site accessible

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  78. GDS
    If you’re a high profile company, the
    risk of being sued is big enough that
    you should make your site accessible

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  79. GDS
    But if you’re a low profile company,
    then the chances of you being sued
    are a lot smaller

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  80. GDS
    So actually, maybe there isn’t a
    business case for companies doing
    low profile work

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  81. GDS
    I can’t say with confidence in those cases
    that making your website accessible will
    show a real return on investment

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  82. GDS
    1. What is GOV.UK
    2. What I mean by “accessibility”
    3. Why writing a business case for accessibility is hard
    4. You don’t need a business case

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  83. GDS
    If you’re building right now, from
    scratch

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  84. GDS
    Why wouldn’t you make your
    site accessible?

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  85. GDS
    Building accessible websites
    has never been easier!

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  86. GDS
    Bake “our site is accessible on a
    range of devices” into your company’s
    definition of what “good” looks like

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  87. GDS
    As a front end developer add it to
    your list of the ways you know you
    did your job well

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  88. GDS
    Sneak it in if you have to

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  89. GDS
    You don’t need a business case

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  90. –Karl Groves,
    http://www.karlgroves.com/2011/11/30/how-expensive-is-accessibility/
    When [accessibility] becomes
    part of how you do things, of
    course it is free.

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  91. GDS
    On GOV.UK building for
    inclusion is how we work

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  92. GDS
    We share and
    discuss the
    accessibility of
    design patterns on a
    publicly accessible
    hack-pad:
    https://designpatterns.hackpad.com

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  93. GDS
    Start today

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  94. GDS
    Eventually it will be how you
    work and then it will be free

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  95. GDS
    Summary
    Good business cases for accessibility are
    quite difficult to write
    You don’t need a business case.

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  96. GDS
    Links
    Leisa Richelt on Alphagov: www.disambiguity.com/alphagov/
    Alphagov Accessibility: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2011/05/06/accessibility/
    Anne Gibson ALA: http://alistapart.com/article/reframing-accessibility-for-the-web
    WAI Business Case: http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/
    RNIB guidance: www.rnib.org.uk/services-we-offer-advice-professionals/equality-act-compliance
    Karl Groves on accessibility costs: www.karlgroves.com/2011/11/30/how-expensive-is-
    accessibility/
    The Design Hackpad: https://designpatterns.hackpad.com

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  97. Thanks!
    Alice Bartlett
    @alicebartlett

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