Hi. My name is Tristán. I have 23 years of experience working in the IT sector, 13 of those in the public sector and ten in the private sector.
In 1994 I started working for the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, and in 1996 we became the first Royal College to have a website. I was in charge of this build, alongside eminent speech and language therapist and accessibility expert Mrs EA Draffan. EA then went on to develop with colleagues the UK's first accessibility Code of Practice, originally known as PAS78 and which she helped to become British Standard 8878, part of the Government's broader self-regulatory approach to standardisation. EA started and ran the Assistive Technology Centre at the University of Sussex, and is now a member of the University of Southampton's ECS Accessibility Team.
In 2007 I began my forays into the private sector, working in the corporate communications department as web producer and then internet manager for Legal & General Group, working close to the Chief Executive. I was very excited to be working on a website that was so famous for its high levels of accessibility (so much so that it has been used as a case study - for example, see this page on the W3C website.
At L&G, as well as running their entire social media presence for many years, I was also project managing their online annual reports and accounts, which were created to AA (and almost AAA) standards by Austrian designers nexxar. I include them on my Useful Links page. The last annual report I worked on with them was the 2014 one, which you can see here. We won many awards for our innovative designs between 2007 and 2014, including the coveted Investor Relations Society award, and the Digital Communications award.
I left L&G at the end of 2016, and in just the few months since, their site is now, sadly, failing AA compliance in many ways. But I knew there were many more companies out there that can benefit from my immense expertise in accessibility, so in October 2017 I set up XSIBL, so that I can do audits on other companies' websites to help them achieve AA compliance as a minimum.
For your website to be compatible, it needs to work for people with all types of disability. There are over ten million people in the UK alone living with a disability (source: DLF). These are potential customers you are losing. Imagine being blind and discovering a website is not being read out properly by your text-to-speech software, or are unable to open links on your site. Imagine your colourblindness or poor eyesight makes it impossible to view certain text on your sight. Imagine that you have to use a keyboard to navigate a site and have no idea where you are, or cannot use an online form correctly. Imagine you are dyslexic, or have ADHD or suffer from motion sickness. Imagine you are deaf and come across a vital video that has no audio captions.
I imagine all of these things when I audit your site. As an expert accessibility tester, I know how to replicate the experience of each of these disabilities and can easily see where you are going wrong. I also look at the source code of each page, to see how it has been written.
My report will go into detail about how you can fix the site, checking the site with a fine toothcomb, seeing how it conforms to AA guidelines. This will be written in layman's terms, with jargon removed, and will also include screen captures showing where the error occurs. It will then be up to you to take remedial action, by using your in-house IT staff or design agency. At a date that is mutually convenient, I will retest your site to ensure that they did their job correctly.
There are other companies out there doing this, and I list them on my Useful Links page. They are all also excellent at doing their job, and I would encourage you to get quotations from them as well. One of my aims is to make XSIBL a success, a by-word in accessibility testing, but my greater aim is to ensure that every website becomes accessible, no matter who does it. You will get an equally professional service from my competitors. But with XSIBL you get just me. No expensive project managers, no teams of testers, just one port of call, one person you can get through to, one person who is accountable. I am also based right in the city of London, so if you too are London-based, I can rush over to your premises at very short notice. This can be especially useful if the site that needs testing is a staff-only website (such as an Intranet), or is password-protected and can only be accessed from your IP address.
Furthermore, I am fully insured for professional indemnity up to £2 million, plus I have liability insurance of up to £1 million should you require me to work at your office on a particular project as mentioned above. I am also covered for cyber and data risk insurance. I am also a Professional Member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. I may be a new company, but I take these matters very seriously indeed.
Making a website compliant not only is the right thing to do for your differently-abled customers, but it is also the legal thing to do. Check out my page on Accessibility and the Law for more reasons why you should seriously ensure your site is compliant.