Category: accessibility

Digital as it should be

As It Should Be logo

Today, I’m so excited to officially launch As It Should Be, a consultancy that helps good people have greater impact by making digital products and services more accessible and sustainable. And I’m extra proud to be launching it as a Certified B Corporation®, verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. There’s an official press release available to read on the website.

🎉 To celebrate the launch, we’ve planted 1,000 trees in mangrove forests in Mozambique. And to thank those who have supported us on our journey, we have also funded a selection of climate impact projects.

🌳 Forest lands in Mozambique have been decimated for firewood and charcoal, resulting in flooding and other damage. Mangroves are a small, coastal tree species and are particularly good carbon stores that also provide excellent flood and storm protection. Eden Reforestation Projects manage the planting projects there that are working to restore millions of mangrove trees in the area. These projects not only help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they provide employment to local people who grow, plant and guard the trees until they reach maturity.

🎁 Many people have supported us to get to where we are today – our team, clients, advisors, suppliers, and friends – but I identified 50 people that I particularly wanted to thank (see below for just some of those people). So, we’ve also funded the following climate impact projects with a “50” theme:

  1. 50 trees of a variety of species planted near Cirencester in the UK.
  2. Installing fuel-efficient cookstoves in Tanzania, improving people’s lives, reducing air pollution in homes, increasing food security, and saving 50 tonnes of CO2.
  3. Renewable energy projects in Brazil and Thailand, saving a further 50 tonnes of CO2.

A huge thank you to:

  • Dee Radford, my Marketing & Admin right arm – I don’t know what I’d have done without you, particularly over the last few weeks.
  • Clair Haycraft at Haycraft Creative – You’ve created a gorgeous brand identity for As It Should Be and I’m going to love using it every day.
  • Angela Hicks at The Hive – Thank you for believing in my back-of-an-envelope idea for sustainability talks for small businesses that kick-started a more serious journey towards building a better business and a lovely community of local business owners. I’m excited for our next steps!
  • Philippa Haynes at Insight 101 – You picked me apart and put me back together again to help make As It Should Be a more coherent reality. Thank you.
  • Andy Hawkins at Business on Purpose – I can’t imagine how I’d have gotten through the B Impact Assessment without your invaluable support. Thank you. For anybody thinking about taking their own B Corp journey, I can highly recommend you speak to Andy about it.
  • Della Hudson and Jane Ginnever – Your sage business advice and sounding board skills have given me clarity and direction when I’ve needed it most.
  • The team at Bath University / SETsquared (Laurent Perge, Pete Keevil, Jayne Fishwick et al) – Your business support and sustainability mentoring over the last couple of years has been so important to this journey.
  • Lucie Chiocchetti – Your advice has given me great points to think about and some clarity in murky times, and I appreciate your constant willingness to help people.
  • All of the “Lowww” crew – too many to mention; you know who you are! – for your shared knowledge and feedback, and for being a supportive community of friends.
  • Tom and Vineeta and the team at Wholegrain Digital – An inspiration to me for a few years now, a model of the kind of business I want to run, and an open source of knowledge when I’ve had questions.
  • Tim Frick and the team at Mightybytes – Another source of inspiration and new lines of thinking, not least Tim’s book, Designing for Sustainability.

A huge thanks to you all, and to the many others I’ve talked to about being in business, becoming an employer, sustainability, disability, social justice, ethics… you’ve all been so generous with your time, thoughts, and ideas – it’s kept me going to know that there are others out there who give a damn and who want to be the change they want to see in the world.

If you want to know more about what we do, or think we can help you and want to have a chat, visit our new website:

Let’s go!

Making virtual events more accessible

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last spring, I began drafting a guide to making online events more accessible and published it on this website. Many people got in touch to say that they had found it useful, and earlier in the year, Lisa Sweeting of Green Sense Events asked if I would give a talk to her community of events organisers about it. If you’d like to learn more, here’s the recording of my talk.

Sustainable Development Goal number 10 is about reduced inequalities. Whilst we are still delivering a huge number of virtual events, how can we ensure these are more accessible for anyone that is perhaps partially sighted or hard of hearing?

Writing and designing for accessibility (videos)

I feel really privileged to have worked with Alastair Lee at Panda and Giles Turnbull at Use the Human Voice over the last few weeks to produce a series of short videos about content design and accessibility.

It’s been part of the Catalyst Definition Programme, mentoring UK charities as they turn their user research into ideas and solutions to problems. All the videos are freely available on YouTube, so why not take a look:

Writing and designing for accessibility – three short videos by Jon Gibbins with advice and tips for creating more accessible content.

Content design foundations – seven videos by Giles Turnbull introducing the aspects of content design thinking.

Making sustainability accessible

Last week, I spoke at a Future Economy Network event about the importance of accessibility as part of sustainable development. There are slides on SlideShare, but the essence of my talk is outlined below.

Leave No One Behind

This is one of the core principles of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. If something does not work for all people, it is prone to risk and not sustainable.

If we exclude people in our work, then we create products and services that are less sustainable. And as we look to the future, our idea of what it means to be inclusive and sustainable is likely to shift. We have a growing, ageing population. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2060 there will be twice as many older people than younger people. This relates to the ‘people’ pillar of the triple bottom line and the definition of sustainability:

Around 1 in 5 people have a disability – more than a billion people in the world. Looking after our planet is a team sport. We need to include disabled people. We need their help.

Sustainable goals

Accessibility is a measure of social sustainability. In fact, disability is explicitly mentioned 11 times in Agenda 2030, and relates directly to 5 of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs):

  • Goal 4, Quality education: Access to knowledge and awareness.
  • Goal 8, Decent work and economic growth: Access to employment.
  • Goal 10, Reduced inequalities: Social, economic and political inclusion for disabled people.
  • Goal 11, Sustainable cities and communities: Accessible human settlements.
  • Goal 17, Partnerships for the goals: Data and monitoring of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

And accessibility impacts on yet more of the goals, for example, “Access to health services”.

Inclusion is encompassed by yet more parts of the goals and their targets and topics:

  • Gender equality
  • Financial inclusion

Through a COVID lens…

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of many businesses, but also every one of us as individuals. We have a greater understanding of what it is to feel isolated or excluded. But for many disabled people, the pandemic has amplified the effects of social inequality around the world.

Disability inclusion isn’t a tick-box exercise. It’s vital to achieving the SDGs.

Android keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet

Did you know you can control your Android devices using a Bluetooth keyboard? I use a keyboard to test apps on Android for accessibility. Having to remember keyboard commands across multiple platforms, one can get quite confused. This is why I have a series of cheat sheets to help me when my memory fails me.

Earlier in the month I popped my rough and ready cheat sheet for Android keyboard commands up on Github for anybody to use or contribute to:

Android keyboard shortcuts

I’ll be adding more resources here over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.