“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
The Fight for Web Accessibility as a Human Right
It’s the mission of the web accessibility initiative (WAI) to provide access to digital information and communication technologies as a basic human right, therefore it’s important that it’s accessible to all.
The web breaks down communication barriers for those living with a disability in the physical world.
However when websites and digital services are poorly designed they exclude people from using the internet, which is the issue we’re going to be addressing in this blog post.
The UK healthcare sector has been adopting digital technology to improve patient services in the last few years. However there are over 6.9 million disabled people registered in the UK, which represents 19% of the working population, and they need to be able to use the same facilities and receive the same experiences as non-disabled. Therefore the NHS has a duty to provide them with continuing appropriate access in order to comply with accessibility policies.
Better Web Accessibility would Improve Unemployment
In the world today, over a billion people are registered as having a disability according to the World Health Organization.
Focusing on delivering such technology to a high quality standard could potentially benefit the UK economy also, as it could help an additional million more disabled people into work. According to disability charity Scope the UK economy would grow 1.7%, or £45bn.
It’s the responsibility of all web providers, especially those with high volumes of traffic or service providers, to contribute towards reducing discrimination that can occur if a web platform isn’t accessible.
The NHS offer varying text size, colour, PDF accessibility, keyboard navigation and video accessibility across their entire website to ensure patients and users have full use. Their website complies with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Level AA guidelines for accessibility and they “remain committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of their site”. No matter any political decisions or budget cuts etc NHS web accessibility needs to remain a top priority to prevent discrimination.
Similarly, British public service broadcaster institution, the BBC, have “My Web, My Way”, as part of their web service. Their site provides accessibility help, enabling computer users to make the most of the internet whatever their ability or disability. The BBC ensure best practices are followed throughout all of their web pages to reduce discrimination and make their site available to everybody.
Technology is enjoying increasing success in the UK healthcare sector, and the introduction of digital tech that’s tailored to assist those with disabilities is revolutionary for those with physical world conditions. Focusing on continually innovating digital tech and improvements to human interaction services could see huge results and be the driving force behind the development of the NHS.
We’re proud to become an official provider of software and app development services for the Keele University Business Bridge programme.
What is the Business Bridge programme?
Staffordshire-based businesses within the healthcare markets can access funded specialist support, particularly services in technical and scientific advice, collaborative working on R&D projects and design, testing and validation of products. The expertise and facilities at Keele University can help you to gain a competitive advantage, granting a £7000 innovation fund to get a provider consultation.
The partnership between Keele University and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust allows local eligible businesses to benefit from the expert advice, collaborative working and specialist facilities available from all of the organisations involved.
In order to qualify to provide this service, Keele have to have a number of preferred suppliers to provide services such as marketing and software design. Bitjam have been selected due to our extensive experience working on global healthcare tech solutions.
Collaborating with Local Business
We fit the required criteria because of our considerable knowledge and expertise in designing and collaborating on relevant projects in the health and social care industry.
Our strengths include using an agile methodology and co-production techniques to ensure the most efficient processes and have a team of full stack developers to carry out both front-end and back-end tasks, meaning deadlines are met on time and work is of a continuously high standard.
We’re looking forward to working collaboratively on some innovative new projects, bringing our experiences from the healthcare sector and effective ways of working to partner with other businesses in the local area.
If you’d like to know more about the programme, email Kylie Salmon here.
In the second part of our co-production series we take a look at Agile Development, another productivity tool that assists in changing the work based mindset and encouraging a more efficient approach to organisational development and changes.
The Shift From Sequential Processes to Agile Methodology
Agile methods encourage teams to build quickly, test what they’ve built and iterate their work based on regular feedback. It was introduced as a modern alternative to the traditional waterfall model.
The waterfall model is a sequential design process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards. It was used in software development processes, through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production, implementation and maintenance. Because it was created in a time when no formal software development methodologies existed, this hardware-oriented model was simply adapted for software development
The agile process takes a different approach. Gathering requirements, planning, designing, building and testing are conducted simultaneously. Starting small in the discovery and alpha phases make way for growing the project into something large-scale.
- Productivity will improve as teams will quickly establish any challenges in certain areas of the project, since all elements are started together
- The focus on the end users contributes to speed, value and efficiency as the team continuously have the experience in mind
- Strong communication is required between stakeholders and business owners
- The business needs to be able to adapt to changes within internal processes with minimal disruption
Co-Production in Agile Software Development
To recap from our previous blog post, co-production creates a collaborative eco-system in which all parties receive a balanced “give and get”.Similarly to agile development, it contributes to service provisions, which can have both benefits and implications. Working with end users, for example clinicians, patients or carers who can contribute regular ideas and feedback from the very end of the UX can speed up process. Distribution of power to citizens means sharing of the decision making process could actually cause delays in project productiveness, as contributors may be unable to agree upon certain elements of the tasks.
The adoption of co-production within an agile framework has some powerful benefits, and is a great example of the changing mindset within the public sector. It also provides a morale boost for teams, as they are able to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. This is why bitjam favour such working techniques, as everybody involved – from the teams to the end user – can enjoy better ways of working. In the last of our 3 part series on co-production, we’ll take a look at a case study within an NHS department that trialed co-production and scaled agile development, and the benefits and results they received.