Festival of Accessibility

With Texthelp

You’ve missed the live event, but don’t worry!
Catch up from 10am on 21 May 2021.
Register or log in to access the session recordings and more.
Available for 30 days


  • AbilityNet logo
  • Content Design London logo
  • Center for ageing better logo
  • NHS Bridgewater community healthcare Logo
  • Patient Information Forum
  • Plain English logo
  • research institute for disabled consumers logo
  • Ruh global impact logo
  • The Big Hack Logo
  • The Readability group logo
  • International Association of Accessibility Professionals logo

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What’s the festival about?

10 years ago Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was born. And we’re marking the occasion with our very first virtual conference. Join us to celebrate the amazing achievements that have been made in the A11Y space so far. Hear from a range of experts to discover key learnings and find out what’s next. Explore how you could and should be building accessibility into your digital plans. And find out how we can continue to, in the words of Joe Devon, ‘work together to change the world’.

This event is for you if you...

  • Want to understand accessibility legislation and learn how you can go above and beyond minimum requirements
  • Crave to create accessible websites which make all users feel included
  • Long to publish inclusive content that all your audience can understand
  • Wish that you were already creating accessible PDFs, social media posts and videos
  • Are curious about what’s coming next in the digital inclusion space



At our free conference we’ll be bringing you sessions and panel discussions with industry experts.
And, you’ll be able to have your questions answered in our live panel Q&As.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Introduction - Driving Digital Accessibility for All

This year, we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day and our first-ever Festival of Accessibility!

Join us for an introduction to our day of celebration and an overview of these momentous times.

Let’s get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. And realising the part each of us can play in improving the experience of more than one billion people with disabilities.

Ryan Graham

Chief Technology Officer, Texthelp

9:15 AM - 10:10 AM

Digital by Default: Baby Boomers and the impact of COVID-19

Over the past year the digital world has quickly evolved. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to people using the internet more often and for more reasons. It has also sped up the need for public services to be primarily online, or 'digital by default'.

This change has impacted older web users more than most.

In this session, hear what we've learned from our recent YouGov research. In the study, we gathered insights about the experiences of older users online, particularly during the COVID crisis. You'll also hear from the Centre for Ageing Better. They'll be sharing what you can do to maximise digital opportunities with the 'Boomer consumers'.

Louise McQuillan

Louise McQuillan

Workplace Accessibility Specialist, Texthelp

John Kiernan

John Kiernan

Innovation and Change Officer, Centre for Ageing Better

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion - what’s the difference?

When we talk about the WCAG, we focus heavily on accessibility. However usability and inclusion are also featured prominently in WCAG 2.1. All should be considered when designing websites, products and services. In this session explore the distinctions and overlaps between accessibility, usability, and inclusive design. Gain advice on how to address each in your digital projects. And discover how best to gather feedback from your disabled audiences.

Eric Harris

Eric Harris

Head of Research, Research Institute for Disabled Consumers

Robin Christopherson

Robin Christopherson

Head of Digital Inclusion, Abilitynet

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11.00 AM - 11.30 AM

Writing in Plain English - the inclusion challenge

As many as 1 in 4 UK adults have very low literacy skills. And 10% have dyslexia, which can cause reading challenges. With this, it's vital to write content in a way that's simple, clear and concise. In this session gain an overview of Plain English best practice. Explore how to write reports, guides, emails that are easy for all your audience to understand. Take part in interactive tasks and practice these new skills.

Sarah Marriott

Sarah Marriott

Training Director, Plain English Ireland

11:35 AM - 12:30 PM

Digital Literacy & Accessibility in the Public Sector

There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. Up to 1 million people cannot speak English well or at all. And 9 years old is the average reading age in the UK. For some, accessing essential digital communications and services isn’t easy. In this session hear how experts within the public and health sectors are working to provide more inclusive experiences for all.

Listen as we explore the impact of COVID and health inequality. Gain practical tips and tricks to take back to your own organisation . And receive a quick overview of our digital inclusion software ReachDeck.

Sophie Randal

Sophie Randall

Director, Patient Information Forum

Adam Britton

Adam Britton

Web Manager and eCommunications Manager, Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Nicola Branagh

Nicola Branagh

Health Accessibility and Inclusion Specialist, Texthelp

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

How to go above and beyond, and achieve customer loyalty

How you manage and implement best practice when it comes to accessibility and inclusion has a huge impact on your brand reputation.

We've all seen the negative press around organisations who have neglected digital inclusion. Making sure your digital presence is accessible has a positive impact on brand image. And creates a welcoming experience for a wider audience. But how can you move from an inclusive brand, to a brand of choice?

In this session, we'll explore how to build online inclusion into your marketing and communications strategy, in a way that demonstrates that you truly care.

Niamh Fox

Niamh Fox

Group Head of Marketing, Texthelp

1:15 PM - 2:10 PM

Accessibility law & how to check your website for the top 5 WCAG errors

Countries around the world are addressing digital access issues through legislation. Many of the requirements are based around the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In this session, gain an overview of legislation and forthcoming deadlines. Discover the five most common WCAG errors, and learn how to find and fix them.

Zenab Khan

Zenab Khan

Accessibility and Usability Consultant, AbilityNet

Stuart Blair

Stuart Blair

Product Manager (Accessibility), Texthelp

2:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Beyond the purple pound: A real look at disability in the digital journey

About 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. That's one billion people - the world’s largest minority. And this figure is expected to double by 2050.

In this session we explore the impact of digital inaccessibility on the disabled population. We delve into how organisations can best meet their needs. And look at the meaningful benefits that come from making programs and campaigns inclusive.

Debra Ruh

Debra Ruh

CEO, Ruh Global

Elisabeth Ward

Elisabeth Ward

Accessibility Specialist, Scope

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

What makes content inclusive?

Content that’s inclusive is that which not only can be accessed, but also understood. Removing barriers to access and meeting WCAG’s technical requirements are all vital. But it’s just as important to make sure that the content accessed is actually usable, and makes your audience feel connected and welcomed. In this session explore how readability, use of language, and inclusive design comes into play. Gain an overview of readability guidelines, and discover best practice around inclusive language and design.

Clare Reucroft

Clare Reucroft

Content Designer, Content Design London

3:35 PM - 4:30 PM

The Future of A11Y

2020 was the year that the COVID crisis brought Digital Accessibility to the fore. It’s been more than twelve months since the world rushed online. So, now that the world has sat up and taken notice of accessibility, what’s next?

In this session we’ll be delving into WCAG 3.0 - when it’s coming and what will be included. We’ll also be giving you an update on accessibility legislation. And we’ll be looking at the future of AI and accessibility, including what’s coming with wearable and voice technology.

Robin Christopherson

Robin Christopherson

Head of Digital Inclusion, Abilitynet

Gareth Ford Williams

Gareth Ford Williams

Director, The Readability Group

Ryan Graham

Ryan Graham

CTO, Texthelp

Mark McCusker

Mark McCusker

Vice Chair, International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)

4:30 PM - 4:40 PM

Close and thanks

And there’s more!

● Win daily prizes (It’s a celebration after all!)
● Sign up for a free audit of your website
● Receive recordings of all sessions & resources, and recap post event

Our speakers have dreams

Together with our partners, we’re committed to keep shining the light on digital access and inclusion. Collectively, we dream of a digital world where absolutely everyone feels included. And unite in our goal to support as many organisations as we can along the way. We can’t wait to get chatting, celebrating and sharing insights with you. So we can continue creating a digital space where everyone feels like they belong.

Tell us what you hope to gain

We want to make sure you get the most from our conference. So we’d love it if you could share with us your most burning questions. And tell us what you’re really excited to hear about, and what you’re hoping to get out of the event. Hearing from you will help us to make sure our festival meets your expectations, desires & more! Simply fill in our short form


Texthelp fiercely believes in accessibility. Accessibility is at the heart of our whole organisation and all of our products. Our core purpose is to help people understand and be understood.

We’re working hard to make sure our Festival of Accessibility is inclusive to everyone. In fact, that’s why we chose vFairs as our event partner. Because they’re committed to accessibility and WCAG compliance too.

However, if you have any accessibility issues or find the virtual environment distracting, we’ll be providing the links to all the live sessions on a dedicated web page. You’ll be sent the link to this page by email before the event. If you have any issues or questions, please reach out to l.smyth@texthelp.com.

Attendees can expect:

  • Live captions for every session
  • Live technical support for all attendees

Frequently Asked Questions


The Texthelp Festival of Accessibility is for everyone. It will be of specific interest to Marketing / Communications / PR professionals, website managers, digital leaders, corporate social responsibility leads and IT specialists.
It's also useful for anyone looking to optimise their online presence and improve brand reputation. As well as boost the bottom line by building more inclusive marketing and digital experiences.
You will be able to engage with a Q&A after most of our speaker sessions. There will also be opportunities to experience a product demonstration and speak to our dedicated sales team. Please visit the sessions as well as the interactive 121 chat booth in the expo hall.
No. You do not need to download or install any software to take part. You only need to have access to the internet.
No. It may be a more enjoyable experience if you ask for a video chat during the event. But a webcam is not needed in order to take part.
Your login details will be emailed to you ahead of the event. You can use these details to access the online event. The event will be hosted on Zoom.
Send an email to texthelp@getvfairs.io (send to Yumna, vFairs tech support) for any technical help.
This is an online event. You do not have to travel to any specific location. You can take part anywhere that you have Internet access. The event is accessible from desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
● Visit the live sessions
● Put your questions to the experts
● Take part in interactive gamification activities
● Visit the Texthelp Expo Hall
● Ask for a free trial which will include a website accessibility scan
Yes. Like any physical event, we will have a swag bag for you! You can add all of the digital documents available to the online swag bag in your account. You can then email them to yourself, or share items with friends and family by simply entering their email.
Yes. These will be distributed after the event, providing you have agreed to opt-in to email communications during the event registration.
If you have any interested peers, you can direct them to register using the main registration link. Each attendee will receive their login credentials within 48 business hours.
Yes, the content will be accessible for 30 days after the event. You can listen on-demand. The event will stay open 24/7 for 30 days after the event ends. Therefore, you can access the resources and recordings from the live sessions whenever it’s convenient during this time.
Yes! You can brush up on your accessibility knowledge, download guides and checklists and more. We have so much you can dive into before the event. Head to our resources area and check them out