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Training people to do accessibility reviews

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Accessibility
Beverley presenting website to an audience at Front End Sheffield
Photo taken at Front End Sheffield by Benjamin Ellis

I’ve recently been working on a six month accessibility project at the Ministry of Justice. This has involved dealing with a lot of different things but one of the main outputs has been some accessibility testing training I’ve created.

After a lot of testing and iteration, this is now open for anyone to use! If you’d like to know more about how it was created, read the whole blog post, but if you just want to get stuck in, go straight to the ‘Try it out for yourself’ section.

Creating an interactive experience

I created a fictional service called ‘Record a goose sighting’ using the GOV.UK Design System. I then broke it to introduce accessibility issues based on real issues I’ve seen, such as missing alt text and broken heading hierarchies. Finally, I created a presentation to go with the site, which explains what accessibility is and how to do basic testing.

I have now run this training seven times across the country to the different MoJ business areas. There has been a lot of positive feedback, such as ‘clear, interactive, and thought provoking’. People found it particularly helpful to have the opportunity to hunt for issues themselves with guidance.

Recently, James Buller from the Accessibility and Inclusion team at Home Office helped me turn my test service into a training package that can be accessed by anyone. The service now has accompanying materials, including a worksheet and answers, so it can be used by teams as part of their own learning plans.

Try it out for yourself

The ‘Record a goose sighting’ training can be completed on your own. This can easily be run in a one hour ‘lunch & learn’ session as a group. A potential session outline could be:

  • Introduction on identifying issues, including why and how to find them (20 minutes)
  • Checking the issues (20 minutes)
  • Reviewing the answers (20 minutes)

There are suggested plugins and techniques in the worksheet and you can also use the recent GDS guidance on ‘Doing a basic accessibility check if you can’t do a detailed one’ to guide your testing.

The training extends beyond issues you’ll find with these tests. Accessibility issues are sometimes measured against a framework called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) but compliance with these does not guarantee an accessible service. Because of this, I’ve put in some of these issues that wouldn’t be considered WCAG failures, but still encourage you to think about different experiences and potential barriers.

Why ‘Record a goose sighting’?

The idea of a fictional service was inspired by the juggling service in Oliver Byford’s fantastic talk, ‘Inclusive forms: Anatomy of a (fictional) GOV.UK service’. 

‘Untitled Goose Game’ came out after I created this. The MoJ office in London is next to St James’ Park, which has a variety of different types of them (and I’m very fond of geese). So, the idea of a service that allows you to record sightings of them was one of my first ideas, and it stuck. The website doesn’t actually collect or submit any data though, so you’ll have to find another way to record goose sightings unfortunately.

As this is an introduction, it is an intentionally silly theme to keep it light-hearted, however accessibility is a deep and serious topic. There are links to more in-depth resources on the answer sheet and I encourage you to carry on reading about and exploring this topic after completing this exercise.

Want to contribute?

There’s always room for improvement. The code is open sourced on GitHub, so go have a gander! Contributions to the project are very welcome.

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  1. Comment by Jenny Syrett posted on

    Hi - I can't seem to access anything via the link on your github page?
    Thanks 🙂

  2. Comment by James Harding posted on

    Really useful thank you. The accessibility of a website or software is so important but often sacrificed to give way for more features, SEO or just look and feel. Great resource. Will certainly be using this with clients.

    James Harding MBCS

  3. Comment by Ali posted on

    It seems to be an error with the link. It should be

    It's correct further up in the article ?

  4. Comment by Julie Shroff posted on

    Hi Have you thought about adding this to the Civil Service Learning platform? Most civil servants would look there for their training so it would reach a broader spectrum of trainees. Thanks

  5. Comment by samanthamerrett posted on

    The Record a goose sighting link has been updated - you can now access the tool via the following link: