Using a Digital Accessibility Maturity Model with Skyscanner

Travel planning website, Skyscanner, recently participated in AbilityNet's Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM). Heather Hepburn, Accessibility Lead at Skyscanner, explains its reasons for going through the process:

"We'd learn more about what we should be focusing on within Skyscanner. We believe the world belongs to everyone and so should be accessible by all. Improving disability inclusion for travellers and our employees is something that’s extremely important to us, and we’re dedicated to making it happen," she says. 

Skyscanner logo - the word Skyscanner with sunshine illustration above it

AbilityNet's Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM)

AbilityNet consultants used the DAMM with a group from Skyscanner, to gauge at what level the organisation was at in each of the model's five dimensions:

  1. Vision
  2. Leadership
  3. Processes
  4. Capability
  5. Procurement

Having agreed what level they are at now, the teams from Skyscanner and AbilityNet then met to discuss the results, and AbilityNet advised on next steps and provided a report with useful resources.. 

Building accessibility knowledge

According to Skyscanner's Accessibility Lead, Heather Hepburn, the Maturity Model helped Skyscanner to understand how to further embed accessibility into the culture of the organisation.

"It gave us insight into all the areas we need to work on" she explains, "not just within product development, but across all areas of our business. An example of something we may have overlooked is procurement of accessible goods and services. It was very useful to see what we’d have to be doing to reach the optimal levels in each dimension – something to aspire to!"

"We found AbilityNet’s people to be extremely knowledgeable – they know this topic inside out. And they are all so lovely to work with. They listened to us, and correctly plotted where we’re at," says Heather.

Skyscanner had already been progressing accessibility developments, before going through the DAMM process, she explains. "It was encouraging that we were already working on many of the things that AbilityNet suggested we should be doing, confirming we were on the right path. They also made new suggestions, which were very useful. The list of resources provided within each dimension was also extremely useful."

Committing to The Valuable 500

The Valuable 500 logo, including a red heart

Since completing the DAMM process, the level of awareness of accessibility across the business has been growing, Heather reports. Skyscanner has: 

  • Launched an Accessibility Statement on its website
  • Joined The Valuable 500, making a public commitment to improve disability inclusion
  • Carried out multiple app and website audits
  • Trained 45 teams across the business
  • Launched the first module of a Skyscanner University course on accessibility and inclusive design
  • Carried out more research with disabled travellers.

Accessibility is becoming embedded in Skyscanner’s culture, evidenced by its appearance in its production standards and broader product development processes. 

Future plans for accessibility

Heather is currently putting a strategy together to define the accessibility work she wants to do in these three areas:

  1. Digital accessibility – making its products even more accessible, and embedding accessibility firmly into all product development processes
  2. Improving its offering to disabled travellers – making Skyscanner somewhere that travellers with disabilities can visit to make great travel plans that suit their specific needs
  3. Internal accessibility – making its offices, tools, policies and internal communications more accessible to employees with disabilities.

And having worked on such extensive changes and future plans for accessibility, what advice does Heather have for organisations that want to make progress with accessibility?

"Get AbilityNet along to help you understand where you sit on its Maturity Model. And take its advice on what to do in order to progress!" she urges.

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