One of the things that I find exciting working in the digital access space is to see large government departments working hard to make their digital content and processes accessible. Recently I had the privilege to work with the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Adelaide who are in the process of growing internal accessibility knowledge.
The DHS are likely best known to Australians for their Centrelink online presence, but the Federal government department undertakes a lot of work across many different areas. My involvement has been to support staff that are working hard to incorporate accessibility into their work practices.
A core part of the initial work was to deliver two presentations to approximately 150 staff providing a broad overview of digital access, from the personal journey of a blind user through to the use of assistive technologies. There was also information provided on the importance of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standard and future technological developments in which accessibility needs to be considered.
Another focus of the work was the delivery of a digital access workshop to approximately 20 staff which provided more specific guidance on interacting directly with web content and documents. The workshop provided an opportunity for attendees to experience the use of assistive technologies for themselves and assess web content using automated tools. The workshop also provided opportunities for discussion of the issues and put strategies in place to continue the conversation.
Given the fact that DHS interacts with millions of Australians with disability on a regular basis, it’s exciting to see access issues being identified and addressed as the processes internally and externally continue to improve. Many thanks to the management and staff for the opportunity to meet your digital access needs.