This is the second of three articles about our journey growing a culture of accessibility at Trade Me. For tips on getting started, see ‘Growing a culture of accessibility at Trade Me’.
After understanding a bit more about our users’ needs and making some progress towards a more inclusive product, we started working towards getting buy-in from our peers. If we want this to be the way we do things at Trade Me, how can we keep the momentum up and get more people involved? What’s missing?
Trade Me’s Maz Hermon created a presentation on ‘Enabling people to care about accessibility’ which contains helpful tips on how to do this.
Understanding our company
One of our initiatives was to create a survey to gauge the level of interest, knowledge and experience from our employees, so we knew what would be the best way to keep up the momentum and empower more people to get involved.
The questions we asked in the survey were:
- What does accessibility mean to you?
- What is your experience with accessibility?
- To what extent are you interested in being involved in accessibility initiatives?
- How would you like to be involved?
The survey was answered by 97 people. We had responses from developers, designers, testers, delivery managers and product owners, and the results were as diverse as the number of participants.
The results showed us that people have different ideas around what accessibility means to them, and although eager to learn more, most people seem to face a barrier of not knowing where to find resources or how to start.
Forming a grassroots movement
Should we create an accessibility guild? How can we make sure we are sharing knowledge and growing employees’ awareness around accessibility?
Following the survey, we set up an open meeting for anyone to join where we presented the results from this survey and came up with our next steps.
The meeting was split into two 2-hour blocks, structured around four main questions:
- What have we achieved so far?
- What were the challenges?
- What do we want to achieve?
- What is the best way to achieve it?
The participants wrote Post-it notes which were then grouped through an affinity map exercise into six main actionable themes:
- Knowledge sharing
- UX testing/research
- Getting to know our users
We then created a shared document with a total of 21 action points, and participants put their names down as ‘responsible for’ and/or ‘keen to be involved’. The action points covered things like contacting users, organising workshops, writing to the executive team, and organising an event for Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day Hackfest
16 May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) — a day when people all over the globe get together to create awareness about accessibility and ways of making products, services and experiences more inclusive. We saw this as a brilliant opportunity to affect change that would continue beyond the event and on to the long journey ahead of us.
Following the initial meeting, a group of 10 of us got together and organised a day of activities for Trade Me teams. This consisted of a couple of technical and theoretical presentations in the morning, and the afternoon for teams to find and fix bugs, create new features, research, or just learn together. We had 90 participants, across three different cities.
At the end of the day, we got together and went through presentations of what we learnt and what new features we could build into our website. These are some examples of what we achieved:
- UX research on improving our content for members with dyslexia.
- A new attribute for Trade Me Property listings, that enables advertisers to let members know if houses are considered accessible by the owner.
- A concept design for a new way of prompting sellers to write better descriptions for their photos to be used as alt text.
- A tool to check what combination of text and background colours from our colour palette passes colour contrast.
The day was successful in spreading awareness internally. Seeing our people get involved and feel happy about their achievements and improvements for our members reassured us that we’re heading in the right direction. By the end of 2019, we had applied some of the outcomes to our product roadmaps. We’re continuing with the initiatives we have underway and also organising activities for 2020 GAAD.
There’s still more work to be done, but so far these initiatives have delivered some progress for us at Trade Me. We hope you’ve got some ideas around how you can shift the mindset on accessibility at your own company.
This is the second of three articles about our journey growing a culture of accessibility at Trade Me. In the next article, we’ll share how we are working to make the case for accessibility.
Originally posted on Maria’s Medium page