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20-20a Westminster Buildings, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 6LG(0115) 888 2828

Welcome to Accessibility Nottingham

Written by Zara Gemmell on

Thank you all for coming to our event.

It’s great to see you all getting involved in a meet-up that’s for everyone.  If I start sounding like a preacher please tell me, I don’t want to put anyone off coming.  But I will say, that we all gather together because we want to make a difference to the world and I truly believe that together we can.


I will be reading from a script because otherwise, my head falls off, and I’ll lose my thread, and no one wants to see me unravel!  Plus, I want everyone to be encouraged to speak at Accessibility Nottingham (follow us on Twitter).  Even for just 5 minutes, and if that means reading something you’ve written, we are more than happy.

The hostess relays the HeX productions journey so far and the reasons for creating a meet-up

For those lovely loyal champions in the crowd, I’ll apologise for the next bit.  For the rest of you…

I’m Zara, Accessibility Director at HeX Productions.

We started our journey to digital accessibility in September 2017 when we visited Shaw Trust Accessibility Services for the first time. We were there to watch the testing of one of our local authority client’s websites.

It was the first time that I had witnessed a blind person using a screen reader and I couldn’t believe what I was watching.

Alan Sleat

Alan was the tester using a screen reader, and he is such a great guy. We have taken Alan on tour with us to speak at a couple of events because he is what matters, and showing that to an audience is very impactful.

He will be speaking for us at some point next year. Alan is blind, not stupid. He has amazing ideas about delivering workshops to raise awareness of what an inclusive world looks like. Why should Alan not be able to use the internet like any one of us? Websites are simply not accessible to Alan unless they are built correctly.

Meeting the Government Digital Services (GDS) & Home Office

And so it began, HeX took immediate action and implemented code to make all of our managed websites accessible. Why? Because we care.

We are still learning, we are still improving, but we will not stop trying.

We started attending the London Accessibility meet-up, which is organised by Alistair, the Head of Accessibility at the Government Digital Services.

We had a good chat with Alistair after the event and the next day got a call from the Home Office. They asked us if we’d like to take part in the consultation for the upcoming Public Sector Accessibility Law due to come into force in September this year. We jumped at the opportunity. This law has now come into force and if you don’t know about it, you should.

Our meet-up is designed to raise awareness and bring together like-minded people to collaborate and make the internet accessible to everyone.

Many of you are already taking huge leaps forward, especially in central government, and I can’t wait for you all to share your experiences over the coming months at this meet-up.

An Accessible Nottingham Meet-up

We have made this Accessibility Nottingham meet-up as inclusive as possible and hope to encourage a wider audience, break down some barriers between our communities and encourage the sharing of knowledge from the people that are affected by poorly designed and poorly built digital services.

My thanks go out to everyone involved so far, all of which have donated their time to bring this meet-up to you. Every single person involved is here because they believe in what we can achieve together.

There will be time for questions after each talk, and your input is vital. Thank you for coming to Accessibility Nottingham.