Royal Mail are a great British Institution with services reaching everyone in the UK 6 days per week. This creates a huge social obligation to be accessible to all. As a founding member of the Business Disability Forum (BDF), they wanted to make a public commitment to ensure technology is easier for everyone to use.
Reality didn’t match up to Royal Mail Group’s vision, with an inconsistent approach where accessibility was usually an afterthought on a project, leading to expensive fixes.
Royal Mail required a modern and practical approach to building accessible digital products and services. This included both strategic and tactical accessibility considerations to ensure Royal Mail’s continued commitment to accessibility can be cost effectively embedded into their development process.
Creating a solution to meet their needs
In order to take Royal Mail on the journey to achieving accessible and inclusive products, we first needed to understand the current state of digital accessibility. From this point we needed to identify the short and long term objectives and deliver a vision, framework and processes that drive cost effective adoption.
The benefits of our approach
We designed an approach that worked effectively with the organisation’s level of accessibility maturity. We embedded accessibility consultants, supported by senior leaders in the business. Our accessibility consultants worked alongside internal teams to help Royal Mail on their journey towards accessibility maturity.
Working onsite, we were able to work collaboratively to ensure that the process was effectively embedded. We deployed the right people at the right time to really drive forward the direction of the business, giving us the flexibility to react to the internal culture and processes.
Our approach led Royal Mail through a three-stage process to provide an effective accessibility strategy to embed accessibility and inclusivity across the business.
Three steps to embed accessibility
The team worked as part of the digital team in Royal Mail’s Farringdon office. They designed a 3 step plan to help embed accessibility:
1. Current state: Understand the current state of digital accessibility to ensure the strategy we develop was fit for purpose and would get buy-in from stakeholders. We defined project goals, explored the current approach, understanding, and view of accessibility across the business, evaluated any existing policies and secured senior commitment and backing.
2. Future state: We then defined the short and long term goals of accessibility for Royal Mail. We establishing the team and key points of contact to ensure that an accessibility strategy has the best opportunity for success. We defined accessibility objectives and aligned objectives with key stakeholders. We identified tools, processes and development resources to support accessibility goals and initiated accessibility strategy communications.
3. Accessibility framework: Finally, we delivered the accessibility framework born out of the research. We defined how to align all existing and future products and services, supported the creation of a policy stating Royal Mail’s commitment to accessibility and are supporting continual knowledge transfer.
It has been fantastic to see the transformation of the team’s understanding and implementation of accessibility standards. It is great to see accessibility now embedded into their day-to-day practices
Identifying the results of our approach
Our impact has been felt across the business. Accessibility has now been embedded into the process. It is now considered at the start of a process rather than an afterthought before a new development goes live. The team are now quickly able to identify the requirements for each development and ensure that these are baked into the process.
This process has stopped Royal Mail from wasting time and money by ensuring developments are in the right direction. By incorporating accessibility requirements from the beginning, they are making greater progress more cheaply and with less risk than ever before.
How Royal Mail have changed after working with The UX Agency
Royal Mail now not only ensure that new developments address accessibility requirements from the start, but we are also working together to help bring legacy systems up to an appropriate level, while ensuring that the appropriate accessibility statements are in place until this is achieved.