Read time: 5 minutes 30 seconds

Launched on 16 May 2019 (Global Accessibility Awareness Day), the South Australian Government’s Online Accessibility Toolkit (accessibility.sa.gov.au) is a free publicly available online resource.

The toolkit is managed by the Office for Digital Government (a team within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet).

Our approach to online accessibility

Read how we improved our approach to online accessibility by working with Vision Australia (and many other organisations):

Introduction video

Watch our short video introduction:

Transcript: video introduction

More detail: planning, design and launch

To help manage delivery, we used the Australian Government Digital Service Standard and our service design guide:

To start, we conducted extensive research to identify leading international resources.

Next, we ran a targeted 3-month survey.

Survey reach and consultation

The survey reached over 2,000 people and was open to:

  • South Australian Government staff
  • over 600 members from the South Australian disability sector
  • over 450 members of the South Australian Disability Engagement Group. This included people with lived experience of disability, family
    members and their support networks.
  • 50 members from the Local Government Access and Inclusion Network
  • visitors to the Developmental Educators Australia Inc. website
  • visitors to the Purple Orange website

During discovery, we also:

  • listened to people with disability describe how they accessed online information
  • visited assistive technology users in their own home
  • consulted with families and support networks in the disability sector
  • worked closely with people in government
  • consulted with members of the public, private sector and not-for-profits

This gave a deeper understanding of the:

  • the human need behind inclusive design
  • isolation and barriers people with disability face when trying to access online information
  • need for extra guidelines and support to sit with the policy

Key partners

Key partners during discovery included representatives from:

  • South Australian Government
  • Vision Australia Digital Access
  • 18F accessibility team (US Government)
  • Australian Government Digital Transformation Agency
  • University of Melbourne
  • Adelaide City Council
  • Royal Society for the Blind South Australia (SA)
  • Blind Citizens Australia Adelaide Branch (SA)
  • SA DeafBlind National Board
  • Department for Human Services (SA)
  • New South Wales Office for Digital Government

In December 2018 we developed our wireframe, we:

  • designed it to meet user need identified through the survey and consultation
  • followed this by developing our first prototype
  • based our prototype on the US Government's excellent 18F Accessibility for Teams

Our prototype then changed in response to:

Co-design approach

In co-designing accessibility.sa.gov.au, we worked with many organisations and individuals. Including:

  • Vision Australia Digital Access
  • 18F accessibility team (US Government)
  • GOV.UK accessibility team (UK Government)
  • Australian Government Digital Transformation Agency
  • Blind Citizens Australia Adelaide Branch (SA)
  • Plain English Campaign
  • Australian cross-government communities of practice community. Reaching nearly 900 members from local, state and federal government in Australia.
  • intopia
  • Royal Society for the Blind (SA)
  • over 600 members from the South Australian disability sector
  • over 450 members of the South Australian Disability Engagement Group. This included people with lived experience of disability, family
    members and their support networks.
  • 50 members from the Local Government Access and Inclusion Network
  • South Australian community, including:
    • people with disability
    • people living in regional and remote areas
    • older South Australian's
    • people who did not speak English as their first language
    • usability testers
  • SA DeafBlind National Board
  • Disability Access and Inclusion Plan Committee
  • over 57,339 registered YourSAy subscribers through our 'Online Accessibility Policy' YourSAy engagement
  • social media campaign reaching 11,756 Facebook users
  • Edu Net Solutions
  • Adelaide City Council
  • City of Onkaparinga Council
  • Government Digital Experience Division team, Government of British Columbia (Canada)
  • Carers SA
  • Purple Orange
  • Adelaide Hills Therapy Hub
  • University of Melbourne
  • New South Wales Office for Digital Government
  • Information Access Group
  • Livestock SA
  • staff from across South Australian Government, in particular representatives from:
    • Department of the Premier and Cabinet
    • Department for Human Services
    • Office for Ageing Well, Department for Health and Wellbeing
    • Department of Industry and Skills
    • Department for Education
    • Equal Opportunity Commission
    • Department for Child Protection
    • Department for Primary Industries and Regions SA
    • TAFE SA
    • Education Standards Board
    • iWorkForSA
    • Housing SA
    • Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
    • Health SA
    • the ICT and Digital Steering Committee
    • the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee

2019 co-design highlights:

Attribution

This toolkit is now available in constant ‘beta’.

This means we're seeking feedback, undertaking usability testing and checking accessibility.

In beta we repeat the following steps:

  1. analyse
  2. restructure
  3. rewrite
  4. design and build
  5. release
  6. get feedback
  7. improve

Following these steps helps deliver a toolkit that meets user need and is robust.

Meeting accessibility standards

We are currently reviewing this website.

This review includes meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

This work started in August 2019.

Remote usability testing

Remote usability testing is another example of how we work to meet user need.

  • Testers include people living in South Australia, interstate and overseas.
  • During testing, we receive feedback on our content, language, structure and design.
  • We placed importance on the feedback from people who did not speak English as their first language.

We analyse feedback, make changes quickly, retest and repeat.

By doing this, we:

  • gain valuable insight into what works well
  • make significant changes to what doesn't

This type of testing also helps us identify future opportunities for improvement.

The South Australian Government Online Accessibility Policy is now supported by an easy read guide.

Identifying a need for easy read

In December 2018 we placed a draft version of our Online Accessibility Policy out for public consultation.

We also surveyed more than:

  • 1000 state and local government staff
  • 900 members from the Australian Government communities of practice.

Through this feedback we identified:

  1. That our draft policy was complex, difficult to understand and therefore implement.
  2. A need for simple, step-by-step 'how to' plain English guides to support the policy.
  3. That the policy itself needed to be presented in a different way to increase the chance of adoption.

The first phase of this work resulted in the Online Accessibility Toolkit being launched with the policy on 16 May 2019.

You can read more about the launch: State Government strengthens its commitment to providing accessible digital services for all South Australians (Minister Lensink Media Release)

For phase 2, we researched various approaches designed to make the policy easier to understand.

This research led us to the broad benefits of easy read.

What is easy read?

Early on we identified that if the Online Accessibility Policy could be presented in easy read, it had the potential to benefit everyone.

This is because information is made easier to understand by:

  • using plain-language
  • using short sentences
  • telling people exactly what they need to know

Find out more about easy read in our introduction to easy read.

Consultation reach

A draft easy read guide to our Online Accessibility Policy was developed in partnership with Information Access Group.

We also sought feedback from:

  • Vision Australia.
  • Australian cross-government communities of practice community. Reaching nearly 900 members from local, state and federal government in Australia.
  • UK Government accessibility group. Reaching all levels of government in the UK.
  • Accessibility Design Team, Department for Work and Pensions (UK Government).
  • Canadian Government.
  • Over 450 members of the South Australian Disability Engagement Group. This includes people with lived experience of disability, family members and their support networks.
  • Over 150 members of the South Australian 'digital inclusion and A11y accessibility' meetup group.
  • Office for Ageing Well, Department for Health and Wellbeing.
  • Government Digital Experience Division team, Government of British Columbia (Canada).
  • Blind Citizens Australia (SA)
  • Royal Society for the Blind (SA)

Every item of feedback reviewed from the consultation and improvements made.

Feedback

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from all levels of government and the community.

Through our consultation we learnt people preferred easy read compared to our traditional policy format.

We also identified:

  • broader benefits for the community
  • how government policy design can be improved

Compare our traditional policy to easy read

We also have a downloadable version: easy read guide using pictures to support words (PDF, 5.3 MB)

Reusable HTML/web page solution

The Office for Digital Government has developed an easy read HTML/web page template.

This was developed through working with:

  • Information Access Group
  • Accessibility Design Team, Department for Work and Pensions (UK Government)
  • Vision Australia

The solution can now be used by all South Australian Government agencies using Website Design System.

Tell us what you think, complete our feedback form:

  • contribute by telling us what you'd like to see included in the toolkit
  • tell us what training you need (and how you want it delivered)
  • tell us if something is wrong or out of date

You can also:

News, events and recognition

2020

2019

The South Australian 'digital inclusion and A11y accessibility' meetups bring people together to:

  • explore best practice through a range of expert speakers
  • share ideas
  • show their work
  • solve problems
  • build networks and get support

Everyone is welcome.

You don't have to work for federal, state or local government, or work on government projects.

Request to join our 'digital inclusion and A11y accessibility' email distribution list. Email onlineaccessibility@sa.gov.au.

Past events

Not sure what to expect? Have a look at our past events:

Page last updated: 15 June 2020