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Round 5 accessibility research findings

Who we spoke to

5 x proxy participants

Of which:

  • one had a cognitive impairment
  • one was motor impaired
  • three were visually impaired

Goals of the research

  • To understand how people with disabilities use the service
  • Uncover any potential barriers to using the service that users with accessibility needs might experience
  • Test with assistive technology

Key insights

Understanding the service

A participant with a cognitive condition struggled to understand the claim dates in sentence format because we were referencing more than one date. With key information like this, having it in a bulleted list helped them digest the information.

Rendering of grant conditions

All participants we spoke to with visual impairments had to zoom in when using the service. This is normal practice for them rather than an issue with the service’s font sizes. However, when zooming in when viewing the grant conditions, email addresses do not render correctly and go off the screen rather than wrapping, as with the table contents.

Volume of information on grant conditions

Participants understood the need to read and understand all the grant conditions. However, when using assistive technology, it takes extra time to read and navigate through them. For example, when a participant used speech-to-text (Dragon software), they had to tell it to “page down” many times before reaching the bottom. In this instance, they said it would have been helpful to have a content section with links to each section so they could navigate to the relevant sections, speeding up the process.

Inputting a teacher reference number (TRN) number using speech-to-text

When entering a TRN number using text-to-speech technology, a space is automatically added. This was tested on Dragon and iPad text-to-speech technology. This meant that the participant was unable to submit the mentor and received an error. Removing the space was slow and tedious for the participant and caused frustration. Doing this for several mentors would be a bad experience for the user.

Rendering issues on Android using Google Chrome

One participant with a visual impairment uses an Android phone and Google Chrome. They experienced a lot of rendering issues with the service, which were inconsistent throughout. The font sizes and wrapping changed on different pages throughout the service.

The feedback form is difficult to read for someone with a severe visual impairment

One participant with a severe visual impairment found the feedback form difficult to read and navigate. This is due to the font size and colour contrasts. As a result, they had to zoom in a lot and use their physical magnifying glass. Due to the amount they had to zoom in, they said they ’lost their bearings’ with the rest of the form.

Next steps

The issues listed above were minor; despite these, participants said they could complete the service easily. Therefore, they have been placed on the backlog for further review once the accessibility audit has occurred.

The dev team is continuing to investigate the rendering issues and establish the best solution for the spacing within the TRN when using text-to-speech.

After raising the issues with the feedback form with the DfE research community, it has been suggested that we use Qualtrics instead of Microsoft Forms.