Government Digital Service (GDS)
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Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with GDS

Accessibility is considered in all aspects of the Government Digital Service’s (GDS) work. Whether it’s testing on assistive technologies, using persona profiles to simulate different users or providing subtitles for films; GDS works to the sixth Government Design Principle of ‘This is for everyone’.

Everyone must interact with government, there is no option to shop around for a different provider. This means it’s critical that we remove as many unnecessary obstacles as we can. Public sector organisations also have a legal duty to make sure websites and apps meet accessibility requirements.

One way to make services as easy to use as possible is to raise awareness of accessibility. This is why we’re celebrating the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on 21 May 2020 with a whole day of virtual activities. Alongside this agenda, we’re encouraging people to raise awareness within their organisations by hosting their own internal events, so we’ve created a downloadable resources pack to help you promote and deliver training sessions for colleagues on the day.

What we’re doing on the day

On the 21 May we’re hosting a number of webinars. These sessions are for digital professionals, anyone working in the public sector, suppliers for public sector organisations and those interested in digital accessibility. Registration closes at 5pm on 20 May, however some sessions have limited capacity so may fill up sooner.

Here’s the agenda for how GDS is celebrating GAAD:

9.30am to 10:30am

An introduction to digital accessibility regulations

Richard Morton, Head of Accessibility for Government, and Joseph Jones, Policy Officer at GDS, will talk you through the accessibility regulations and how they may impact your work.

Register for the An introduction to digital accessibility regulations session

11:00am to 11.45am 

How to avoid common accessibility statement fails

Join Chris Heathcote, who is running the team responsible for the enforcement of accessibility statements, to learn more about this requirement. Plus, Accessibility Consultant at the Home Office, George Rhodes will discuss his extensive research into this subject which highlighted some best practice examples and easy-to-avoid mistakes.

Register for the How to avoid common accessibility statement fails session

12:30pm to 1:30pm 

How to carry out basic accessibility checks

During this interactive session, Beverley Newing (Frontend Developer at the Ministry of Justice) will introduce you to the fictional ‘Record a goose sighting’ service their team created and demonstrate how it can be used to develop the skills to carry out basic accessibility checks. Plus, Head of Accessibility for Government, Richard Morton, will be on hand to answer your questions.

Register for the How to carry out basic accessibility checks session

3:00 to 3:30pm 

Making accessibility accessible: the secret to engaging your workforce

In this session, Helen Wilson (Digital Designer at Worcester County Council) will share the framework she developed to help successfully engage Worcester County Council’s workforce on digital accessibility. Plus, she’ll reveal how you can use it to empower your colleagues to improve the accessibility of content on your website.

Register for the Making accessibility accessible: the secret to engaging your workforce session

4:00 to 4:30pm 

What would Marie Kondo do? How to clear your website of inaccessible PDFs

Leeds City Council reveal how they have taken inspiration from popular tidying philosophies to prepare for the accessibility regulations. Content Strategist Lammy Jones and Website Project Manager Sally Boyes will share how they’ve cleared their site of more than 3,500 PDFs in the past year and the lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

Register for the What would Marie Kondo do? How to clear your website of inaccessible PDFs session

How to get involved

There are 3 different ways to join GDS in its GAAD celebrations. 

Firstly, join a webinar session from the above agenda. We will be running them through Zoom, which you can join via your preferred internet browser.

Secondly, host your own celebrations. Some ideas to promote accessibility within your own organisation are: run a virtual drop-in session, show how an assistive technology works or present an introduction to accessibility. We’ve created a downloadable resources pack that has a presentation deck and promotional assets to get you started. 

Thirdly, share your activities on social media. Use the hashtags #AccessibilityRegulations and #GAAD so we can connect with each other on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

We’re excited to hear from you

Let us know in the comments or @GDSTeam if you need more information, help with setting up your own event or want to share what you’re doing to celebrate.

We’re looking forward to raising awareness about accessibility with you.

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