Hear from Colts Rachel Collins on digital access and inclusion

Hear from Colt's Rachel Collins on digital access and inclusion

 May 23, 2023

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Marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), Colt's Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Rachel Collins discusses digital access and inclusion. In her DEI role, Rachel provides strategic direction and management for all aspects of Colt's Inclusion & Diversity function - which encompasses facilitating business change projects, monitoring / evaluating existing systems and processes, and supporting senior leaders to achieve core business objectives.

How do people consume content?

"When mentioning accessibility, many people think about removing physical barriers. When so much of our world is digital, it is crucial to understand that accessibility applies to digital spaces just as much as physical spaces. Imagine one day turning on your computer to read the news but all the text is in the wrong order, or vast sections of an article are missing," shares Rachel.

Research by the GAAD Foundation found that over 98 per cent of the home pages they checked had at least one inaccessible feature. What impact does this exclusion have on the one billion people worldwide who live with disabilities? When digital spaces are inaccessible, there is a genuine risk that some people cannot access them properly, leading to exclusion and feelings of alienation.

"We need to think about how some people consume content. If someone uses a screen reader or speech output system to interpret a web page and the basic code behind that page has been manipulated, to them, the content can appear in a nonsensical order or even not at all. While this may be invisible to non-disabled people, it is a daily reality for many and is far more common than one might think. Here at Colt, we have championed GAAD over recent years to raise awareness, and this year we want to show how we’re taking action. I want to update you on our five-year Accessibility Roadmap that ensures Colt is an equitable, accessible and welcoming company to interact and do business with. Digital accessibility is a huge part of our plan, alongside strategies on the built environment, processes, communications and employee and customer journeys," explains Rachel.

Colt’s Accessibility Roadmap – Optimising Accessibility

Input and feedback from those most impacted by a lack of accessibility are crucial.

"We consulted with our Disability Accessibility Employee Network (DAN) to hear what they thought of our digital spaces and, since then, have embedded feedback mechanisms into our main sites. We consulted with external specialists to understand where we could improve. The culmination of these insights is how we created our roadmap with the goal of Optimising Accessibility – our mission’s name," says Rachel.

Five key areas of focus 

There are five areas of focus:

  • Strategy & Governance - Focusing on reporting, policies and building accessibility into our supply chain
  • Employee Experience - Building accessibility into recruitment, onboarding and development
  • Awareness & Skills - Engaging everyone and developing key skills for specific teams
  • Brand & Reputation - Creating accessible content and removing barriers to key audiences
  • Customer Experience - Incorporating accessibility into our customer journey

"We fully acknowledge that our road map isn’t perfect yet, and we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re excited to embark on our journey and invite you to join us if you’d like to learn more," says Rachel.

Providing a Diversity & Inclusion strategic direction 

As part of her role with Colt,

Colt is an inclusive employer for all 

Working for a company that pays attention to inclusion across all areas of the workplace can be a rewarding career choice. 

Colt is focused on getting everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. 

Check out Colt's latest job vacancies


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