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We spoke to Suzie Lowe, UX designer at Which? about the work she is doing in accessibility

Category: Accessibility, Accessibility & Inclusion, Conscious Inclusion, Accessibility in Tech

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Suzie Lowe, UX designer, is passionate about accessibility and we caught up with her to find out more about the work that she’s doing in this area.

 

Suzie Lowe. White Female

What does accessibility mean to you?

‘Accessibility to me means making things usable for everyone, so no one is excluded. There are so many products, services and facilities that we use every day, which are mainly designed for able bodied and neurotypical people, and so can exclude or make it difficult for people with disabilities or neurological profiles to use.’

Tell us more about some of the work you’re doing to make our products and services more accessible

‘My degree helped inspire my interest and passion for inclusive design and is a large driver for what I do now at work. I work within the Product Design and User Research team in the Product department. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been working closely with visual designers and engineers to build our first proper design system, called Seatbelt.

‘A design system is a collection of reusable digital components, and works like a traditional book lending library. In your local library, they will have hundreds of books you can borrow. They have a set catalogue of books available which everyone can access. You can borrow the same book as many times as you want and can read the story over and over. Other people can borrow the same book as well, and they can find it in different languages and in audio files too.

‘Design systems are the same, people can ‘borrow’ components as many times as they like. We put in a lot of work to make sure every component meets as many accessibility requirements as possible, including meeting international standards like WGAC 2.2.

‘When people ‘borrow’ from Seatbelt, they then are using components which have a lot of accessibility baked-in. It helps with consistency across all of our digital platforms, and saves time and effort down the line.

‘Large amounts of the Which? digital estate is already using Seatbelt. Each time we do a content migration (for example, reviews, advice, news) we move content onto Glide Chorus. Glide Chorus is one of our platforms which build pages using Seatbelt components. Right now we are working towards getting 80% of our site traffic on pages using Seatbelt, making our content better for everyone.’

What advice would you give to colleagues when thinking about accessibility?

‘The biggest thing you can do is to ask questions, look for answers and learn how you can improve in the work you do to make it more accessible. Take the time to work out what you know and where there are gaps in your knowledge. Research training options available to you, through LinkedIn Learning or courses available externally, as it’s a really important part of your professional development.

‘For us, it’s important that we improve the accessibility of our products and services to fulfil Which? 's mission of being the UK consumer champion. If you aren’t consciously including people, you may unconsciously exclude people.’

For more information on equity, diversity and inclusion programmes and initiatives at Which? please click here.

 

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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