How user testing helped the British Museum boost its accessibility and inclusivity

Image of two people looking at the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum

With a reputation for providing a reliable and thorough accessibility testing service, AbilityNet was chosen by the British Museum, a UK museum based in London, to conduct user testing sessions to identify how disabled users navigate and use its website.

“AbilityNet offers a wide choice of services to suit our needs, such as design and face-to-face user testing,” says the Museum’s Digital Project Manager, Harry Potia. 

AbilityNet carried out scoping calls before the work began, then arranged user testing sessions focusing on users with varied needs. These sessions took place across two days within AbilityNet’s London-based testing lab.

One of the key areas the British Museum wished to investigate was multimedia use within its website, and improving the overall journey for users.


User groups tested included those with dyspraxia, Asperger’s Syndrome, severely deaf users with temporary partial sight loss, blind users, people with cognitive difficulties, and older users.

What the user testing identified

Having carried out the tests AbilityNet shared the results of its tests in an online session with the Museum’s team working on the website. 

Many aspects of the website were positively received, for example users quickly found how to book an exhibition. However the feedback also focused on improvements to the booking process, such as adjustments to the calendar and the basket functionality. Other specific findings pointed to refinements in the newsletter sign up process and enhancements to colour contrast. 

As a result of acting on the findings the British Museum is confident that it is now providing a more accessible and inclusive website for its users.

Creating video production and online content guidelines

As well as addressing specific concerns raised by users the work carried out has also started to filter through into the Museum processes, especially helping to ensure its content is as inclusive as possible.

For example, results from the accessibility tests have helped the Museum adjust its video production practices. This ensures that audio descriptions or transcripts are provided where relevant, as well as thinking about accessibility from the start of the video and production process. The Museum has also updated its online content writing guidelines to include accessibility considerations.

“AbilityNet knows what it is doing and its costs are in-line with other agencies, although its work is very thorough and offers a wide range of accessibility testing services to suit your needs,” says Harry Potia.

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