Accessibility Insights with Neil Milliken of Atos: August 2020

Date of webinar: 
11 Aug 2020 - 13:00

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Robin Christopherson pictured alongside Neil Milliken

This webinar took place on Tuesday 11 August 2020, 1pm BST

We were delighted to welcome Neil Milliken as the second guest in our new Accessibility Insights webinar series.

Neil is Global Head of Accessibility for Atos. His role is to deliver better technology for customers and employees, embedding inclusive practice into the processes of the organization, which has thousands of employees and an annual turnover of billions.

In addition, Neil is the Atos representative on the Business Disability Forum Technology Task Force, and an expert for the W3C Cognitive Accessibility Taskforce. And there's more...Neil is co-founder of AXSChat, Europe’s largest twitter chat with a focus on Accessibility & Inclusion.

Neil was also named in the top ten of the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list in 2018, and Disability & Inclusion practitioner of the year in the 2019 Disability Smart Awards.

Hosting the webinar was Robin Christopherson MBE, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet, who enjoys monthly online chats with individuals who are each working to improve digital accessibility and digital inclusion.

Webinar recording, slides and transcript

All our webinars are recorded and this session's recording is now available below. You can also find the slidedeck used for the webinar below along with a transcript.

For additional information read answers to frequently asked questions about AbilityNet webinars. This session has also been released as a podcast - see below. 

Neil Milliken answers attendees' questions from the webinar

How can I find out whether my organisation has an accessibility strategy?

Every organisation is different and will store that information in different places. Start by looking on your organisation’s website for an Accessibility Statement. If you have a diversity team, speak with them, they may know.  

Is there any evidence to suggest that accessibility functions add to the cost of a programme?

Whenever you add any feature to a programme or application there is a cost associated with development and support. However, the biggest impact on cost is the point at which you introduce accessibility in the development cycle. If you consider accessibility from inception then the cost of including it can be very low. Retrofitting accessibility is both cumbersome and expensive.

Do you have any tips of how to manage the dyslexic issue you highlighted about not seeing errors in text?

All number of proofreading tools are available, including Texthelp's Read & Write, and Claro aimed at supporting literacy and dyslexia. If you are not working in a corporate environment then you may also be able to take advantage of some of the cloud-based tools like Grammarly.

You mentioned Wix in relation to accessibility – can you clarify this point?

Lots of private individuals and small businesses use website builders such as Wix and are not creating their own code. To be fair to Wix it has made significant improvements in the accessibility of its platform over the last couple of years, but there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of sites out there using old templates that are not accessible. Furthermore, you need to turn on accessibility features in all of the content management platforms and look for accessible templates. Access the Wix Accessibility Guides on its website.

What’s the difference between WCAG and ATAG?

WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is about content. ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines) is about the tools that we use to create that content. 

What are the fundamental features an application like Moodle has to have to comply with the accessibility regulations?

The accessibility requirements for Moodle or any online platform are essentially the same people need to be able to access and interact with the content. The content on the platform should comply with WCAG 2.1 and follow the core principles of being perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.  

What should the public-facing websites ensure after the September 23 deadline? 

AbilityNet has been running a programme of information and advice in the countdown to 23 September 2020. You can watch the webinar recording of our most recent HE/Public sector update webinar, which outlines requirements for 23 September. (Transcript provided.) Our blog: Countdown to public sector deadline: How prepared are you? should also be of interest.

Save the date for our higher education (HE) and public sector update webinar on 22 September, where Kate Lister from Open University will be speaking about how her institution has developed a robust digital accessibility focus and inclusive practices.

Podcast recording