GDS accessibility chief outlines future plans

Alistair Duggin, head of accessibility at the Government Digital Service, has outlined how he intends to make GOV.UK as accessible as possible.

Commenting in a blog post, Duggin said that while the accessibility of GOV.UK is good compared to many websites, there is much more to do. He added that one of the biggest challenges is the sheer size of GOV.UK, the number of people contributing to it, the fact that people work on it all around the country and the issue with the platform being made up of many parts.

Furthermore, he added, government services are not just online. They have non-digital aspects including letters, call centres, face to face. These must all not exclude people on the basis of a disability such as a visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairment.


The road to accessibility

Duggin continued by stating that the goal of accessibility is not to meet a standard, it is to make sure the people with disabilities can use your service as easily as people without a disability. “It is unlikely that someone will complain that a service doesn’t meet a standard,” he said, “but they will complain that they are unable to do what they need to.”

A dozen or so priorities for the next 12 months were then outlined by Duggin. These include continuing to raise awareness, inspiring people and getting them to join and participate in the community, improving how teams approach accessibility and better utilising the wider user community to establish best practice and provide helpful information in the content design guidance and service manual. Suitable training courses and materials are also on the agenda.

The full blog can be found here.

Related reading