Tell us about AbilityNet
AbilityNet is a Technology charity that exists to remove barriers to participation for disabled people. We provide Digital Accessibility and Workplace Inclusion consultancy and training, partnering to ensure our clients’ websites, applications, and working practices embrace a diverse audience. Our commercial activities fund Free Support , News and Blogs, events such as TechShare Pro 2022 and online resources including a range of Factsheets and our My Computer My Way interactive tool which provides simple guides on how to adapt your technology to meet your needs.
When did you join BASDA
What was your reason for joining BASDA?
We were already aware of BASDA’s important role and work. Having met with Carol to discuss the area of Digital Accessibility and Disability Inclusion in the British software development industry we really wanted to engage with this group to help to get these important topics onto the agenda for discussion and improvement. Focusing on diversity is such a key area for a variety of reasons. The legal and procurement landscape is becoming more alive to this topic which is obviously something we all need to keep on top of.
Developing software and working environments that are inclusive by design however, makes the customer and employee experience better for everyone, not just those living with disabilities. It also has a strong correlation with the success of the organisation, commercially and reputationally. This looks likely to become more and more relevant as customers and employees demand inclusive approaches regardless of their own circumstance but rather because it is the right thing to do.
What value do you hope BASDA will bring to your business?
The opportunity to network with software developers, keep up to date with new and exciting developments in the sector and also gain a deeper understanding of their needs and challenges relating to ensuring their products are developed with the broadest audience in mind. To also have a positive impact on the diversity of teams working in the sector. As Tech Talent Charter signatories and Disability Confident Leaders we are committed to improving the diversity of our team and those of customers and our broader network.
Are there any particular topics that BASDA is championing that you are particularly interested in?
Digital accessibility is an obvious one but also to understand how other topics interplay with this and what could be presenting a barrier to progress. Also diversity within the software development industry and how we can promote opportunities for improving this.
What are the current challenges within your industry and how can BASDA help your company as the voice of industry?
Challenges include keeping disability inclusion and digital accessibility at the front of people’s minds rather than being a last minute afterthought which typically leads to much less usable products for everyone. Making the business case for digital accessibility and also recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse employee base.
On our charitable side it can be getting the word out about the great support that our volunteer team provide and the excellent free online resources people can take advantage of. We are also looking for corporates who would like to work with us as part of their CSR and ESG strategies, providing tech help to disabled people and participating in digital inclusion projects.
Can you offer any advice to BASDA members?
Develop your products for the widest audience and they will be better for everyone. Engage diverse users in the process throughout, build diverse teams to get the best possible 360-degree view when creating solutions.
You can find out more information on the AbilityNet website.
We look forward to hearing their views and supporting them as a member.
If you are not already a member of BASDA you can find more information on how to join on our BASDA membership page