As a leader in our Information and Digital Technology organisation, I take great pride in the fact that, together with my colleagues, we can create an increasingly inclusive digital experience for our employees and our customers. If we don’t consider accessibility while designing and developing IT and digital solutions, we could be excluding people without realising. Therefore, our IT function plays a key role in enhancing the accessibility of our digital solutions.
We are also creating an increasingly inclusive experience for our customers. For example, our partnership with the fuelService app allows drivers with a disability to request assistance at our retail sites before they start their journeys, and pay from their cars.
Here are 4 key actions we took to make our digital solutions accessible to all our stakeholders, including staff.
1. Create IT Accessibility Standards
We require all our IT solutions to be as accessible as possible to all, regardless of disability. Our Accessibility Standards are embedded in our Brand standards. These standards include accessibility guidelines and best practices for design, communication, and coding.
2. Address the small details that make a big difference.
For example, live captions are crucial to make meetings more inclusive to all participants, notably those with hearing impairment. We have rolled out live captions in 28 languages for our online webcasts. Colleagues can read live captions and also access transcriptions of meetings.
3. Put the standards into practice
Last year, we held our first IT Accessibility bootcamp. Over fifty colleagues from around the world developed innovative solutions in response to accessibility issues highlighted by users with disabilities. These results are now part of a technology deployment roadmap and the ideation bootcamp has become an annual event.
As a central organisation, the IT function helps to identify common needs and challenges, and source relevant solutions with suppliers. We replicate best practices and apply the learnings from the use of special hardware and software to build a service catalogue catering for different disability needs. We share our learnings back with our peers through the UK-based Business Disability Forum.
4. Be a champion for diversity
Our community of IT professionals has a mandate to champion Diversity, Equality & Inclusion within Shell and with our customers. We have trained over 850 IT professionals on accessibility. Over 40 colleagues including software engineers and testers, business analysts and project managers form a voluntary network to engage and drive awareness and ensure our commitments are met, whether building or buying technology.