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HeX News – September 2020

Written by Ben Leach on

From new hires to launching new websites. Lots of great things have happened in 2020 and we can’t wait to share them with you…

You may have read at the start of Coronavirus that HeX abandoned the office in search of a home working environment for the safety of everyone, and we’re still here, with cats/dogs/kids on our laps. 

Despite what’s going on, we’ve got lots of great things that we want to share with you. 

Welcome to the team…Simon! 

In one of our first news updates last October, we shared that we were all enrolled on a British Sign Language (BSL) course to help us better communicate with those in the Deaf community. Our awesome tutor, Simon, guided us through the process of learning BSL. 

And now, we’re incredibly proud to welcome Simon to the HeX team as our BSL Translator. Simon will be fulfilling our goal of becoming an accessible agency, providing BSL translation for all of our (and our clients’) content pages. 

You can read all about Simon here and what he likes to get up to! Watch this space for more information on how Simon can get involved in your website accessibility! 

Join the Digital Accessibility Matters campaign

You may have noticed that we’ve launched a campaign over the last week or so, called Digital Accessibility Matters. 

The campaign aims to highlight the importance of digital accessibility in the lead up to the Public Sector Accessibility Regulations deadline of 23 September. On this date, all public sector organisations need to be accessible or working towards accessibility. 

As part of this campaign we’re getting some well-known disabled voices to talk about disabled access and spread the word about the importance of accessibility. We also want other disabled users to get in touch with their local public sector organisations that they’ve experienced issues with, in the past. You can get involved too, find out more about our Digital Accessibility Matters campaign here. 

Ensuring the HeX website is accessible

The HeX Productions website contains more than 7 years of content, some of which is still relevant today. However, some of this content on our website is complex to understand. With an increased understanding of content accessibility, and thanks to Visible Thread readability tool, we are in the process of updating our content. 

We want the words we write to be as understandable as possible for our audience, so ensuring our important pages are written in Plain English is essential.

Still working on a digital accessibility apprenticeship

HeX’s Accessibility Director, Zara, is involved in round table discussions alongside Atos, Shell, Microsoft, Barclays, Lloyds, BBC, Channel 4, AbilityNet, RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals) and others regarding the introduction of an Accessibility apprenticeship. 

The aim is to create qualified individuals who know what accessibility is, why it’s important and be able to understand and work with teams, integrating accessibility. Talks are still ongoing, the standard is being built and progress is being made with training providers! 

Our ongoing accessible website development projects

The team are working hard on a number of projects at the moment, including: 

  • Design and build of a new, accessible, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s website
  • Wireframing, design, accessibility consulting and creating pattern libraries for Ashfield District Council’s new website
  • Accessibility auditing and consultation for Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Accessibility audit for Inspire Culture – Nottinghamshire’s learning libraries
  • Homefield College’s new accessible website – design, build, content support. 
  • Genius Within’s new accessible website – design, build, content support. 
  • Providing consultancy for the NHS and developing an internal intranet for an NHS establishment

As always, we’ll be championing accessibility across all of these projects, and ensuring they’re accessible from the very beginning! 

Our work with Terminalfour

We’re proud to be working with our international key partners over at Terminalfour to redevelop a number of higher education websites with them. 

Whilst we can’t say much, our work has made an impact to colleges and universities in: 

  • Indiana, USA
  • Connecticut, USA
  • California, USA 
  • Texas, USA 
  • Florida, USA 
  • Durham, UK

Delivering talks on Accessibility

As always, we’re keen to spread the word about Digital Accessibility across the globe. Whilst COVID-19 has put a stop to us jet-setting around the world, spreading the word about accessibility, it hasn’t stopped us delivering some awesome virtual talks. 

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 

The team at HeX delivered multiple talks on Atos’ Global Accessibility Awareness Day virtual webinar. 

Our Accessibility Director, Zara was involved in a discussion panel around Growing Accessibility Expertise.

James, our Creative Director, delivered a talk on Accessible User Experience in Higher Education. 

Finally, our Accessible Digital Marketing and Content Specialist, Ben, took part in a discussion panel about Accessible Communication. 

You can read more about our talks at GAAD here. 

D2N2 UpScaler Event  -Sharing accessibility knowledge

James delivered a virtual talk to local Nottinghamshire businesses alongside Darren from UX Centric. 

The talk was titled ‘Demystifying the World of User Experience’ in which James spoke about accessibility and how businesses can adopt accessibility as part of their practices. 

Accessibility Training in 2020

In 2020 we are proud to have delivered training to some fantastic organisations

Up-skilling Terminalfour on best practice accessibility modelling

Our key partners, Terminalfour required some accessibility training in the early part of the year in order to up-skill some of the team on implementing accessibility throughout their web processes, from sales to handover.. 

We trained a number of teams in Terminalfour, including developers, designers, sales and project managers. We delivered technical accessibility training including assistive technology demonstrations, ARIA and HTML workshops.

You can read more about our Accessibility Training with Terminalfour here

Introducing accessibility to Snook, Northgate Public Services and APD Communications

As three organisations who provide services to the public sector, it was a great pleasure to deliver training to NEC Software Solutions earlier in the year. 

We were pleased to train numerous staff members from designers to developers and project managers on the principles of accessibility. They all got an opportunity to use assistive technology and audit their own websites. 

We love helping organisations become accessibility champions. You can find more about our accessibility training here.

Accessibility Auditing for the Public Sector

It’s been a busy year for us in terms of accessibility auditing. With the Public Sector Accessibility Regulations coming into force in a couple of weeks, many organisations have approached us to have an accessibility audit carried out on their websites. 

In total so far this year we have completed a steady volume of accessibility audits for organisations and have many more in the pipeline. Our partners over at Shaw Trust Accessibility Services also completed  a large number that have required development support from the team at HeX.

New websites delivered to clients

We’ve had a number of successful website developments reach completion and go live. Check them out: 

Accessibility Nottingham Meet-up

So, as you can see, we’re still here, still championing accessibility, and still helping people understand the value of building a digitally accessible future.

Sadly, due to the current health crisis we have put our monthly meet-up Accessibility Nottingham on hold. Our meet-up was more than just a tech event, for us it was about bringing communities together to talk about and celebrate our differences and doing this face-to-face was part of our ethos.

All is not lost, we do intend to bring together a discussion panel soon in order to provide insight from the lives of people affected by poorly designed digital services. We hope to have you attend.

Follow our progress and successes on our social channels:

HeX Productions Twitter

HeX Productions Facebook

HeX Productions LinkedIn 

HeX Productions Instagram