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16 May 2024

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024

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Hippo

Thursday 16 May marks the 13th Global Accessibility Awareness Day or GAAD. The GAAD Foundation’s mission is to disrupt the culture of technology and ensure it includes accessibility at the heart, whilst putting a spotlight on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities or impairments. 

With user-centred design principles at the core of our approach to digital transformation, inclusivity and accessibility considerations are embedded across everything we do at Hippo. Furthermore, addressing issues with digital access and inclusion for the communities we serve is a core theme of our Social Value Strategy

In this blog post we put a spotlight on some of the steps  Hippos have taken in both their work as digital services consultants, and in our approach to community engagement and social value.

Accessibility as a digital imperative 

It’s no secret that Hippo’s origins and perspective are rooted in a human centred approach. Across everything we do, we understand that for our client’s digital services to be effective, they need to be optimised and designed for people that have a diverse spectrum of needs and requirements. 

When approaching a project, we don’t lead by thinking about the type of technology solution that may be required. Hippos from all of our professions – spanning engineering, research, design, delivery and more – continually ask how we can solve problems for users from an experience perspective. Let’s take a look at some examples of how we’ve applied these principles to the work we’ve delivered for our clients.

A GP registration service that works for everyone

For many, having to physically visit a GP surgery service or complete physical paperwork to register their details acted as a barrier, making the process inconvenient, and often impossible without appropriate support, for many people facing accessibility issues. NHS England’s online Register with a GP surgery service helped overcome this blocker and reached the milestone of surpassing 1 million registrations.

“The service not only reduces the administrative burden for general practice, but also makes GP registration much more accessible to the public – offering patients more choice, convenience and consistency.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, National Director of Primary Care and Community Services for NHS England

Hippo provided user-centred design leadership and accessibility specialists to deliver the service for the NHS. You can read more about the work completed in our case study

A simple and inclusive solution for accessing large-scale healthcare services

With over 80 digital services offered across NHS functions back in 2017, there became a clear priority to ensure that services could be accessed easily and efficiently by an increasingly digitally-enabled population. For users, a seamless way to manage healthcare services such as booking appointments or ordering repeat prescriptions is a huge step to ensuring that they are empowered to manage their own health and care. 

The solution delivers a simple and user-centred way for around 50 million patients to access multiple digital healthcare services. This was delivered with evidence-based service design embedded across user journeys for a diverse set of user groups and accessibility needs – with decision making focused on vulnerable and cognitively impaired user-groups. Our full case study provides more details on the approach taken for this project.

“Hippo have played a fundamental part in the creation, development and continuous evolution of the NHS login service. Hippo’s strong focus and aptitude in designing for and meeting the needs of our users has enabled the NHS to deliver a single simple login for all, which underpins the NHS’ strategic objectives to protect the NHS front line through the increased adoption of digital services and to enable individuals to be empowered to manage their health and care”

Melissa Ruscoe, Programme Head, NHS login

Accessibility and inclusion in our culture

With Hippos across all of our professions putting accessibility at the forefront of their thinking and the work delivered for clients, it’s no surprise that this extends to our culture, communities and ways of working at Hippo.

In a previous blog post, our Senior User Researcher, Rachel Abbott explores how to make user research more accessible for colleagues and participants with dyslexia. This includes experiences of self reflection in your practices and the importance of considering different access needs and flexible formats when designing research sessions.  

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DI&B) is a core theme of our Social Value Strategy, and supports our dedication to growing a workforce that truly represents the communities we serve. Hippo’s disabled community provides a space for people to support each other and feed into initiatives to remove barriers across various areas, including workplace accessibility considerations, tools and technology for neurodivergent Hippos and our wider recruitment practices. 

We engage with local communities through volunteering, fundraising and targeting digital exclusion as a business. Our sponsorship of the Leeds Digital Ball, a partnership between Leeds Community Foundation and 100% Digital Leeds is one such initiative. We spoke to Steph Taylor, CEO of LCF, about how the ball had already raised £160,000 to support 15 local organisations tackling digital exclusion in Leeds. 

 

This vital work helps individuals who lack access to technology or the skills to use it effectively, empowering them to connect, build confidence, and participate in our increasingly digital world. We’re excited to find out the impact that 2024’s Digital Ball will have!