“It’s our mission to make travel better for the planet and everyone on it, and we mean everyone. With over 1 billion people in the world with disabilities, it’s crucial that we make disability inclusion a central part of everything we do and our products accessible to all.” – Skyscanner CEO John Mangelaars
When people with disabilities are not considered during the design and development of websites and apps, barriers are often created making interaction with digital products hard and sometimes impossible. Adopting inclusive design and accessibility best practices allows us to break down these barriers (or ideally not create them in the first place) and give everyone the same ability to explore, plan, and book travel through Skyscanner.
Our Accessibility Programme
We established an Accessibility Programme just over a year ago to help us raise awareness of accessibility among staff and embed best practices into new and existing processes. The programme has been building great momentum and we’re starting to see positive change in a number of our focus areas as a result:
- Better digital experiences
Our designers and engineers are working towards making our app, website, social media and marketing more inclusive by using accessible colours and layouts, optimising for assistive technology such as screen readers, and understanding the effects of neurodiversity on digital interaction.
- More dedicated people
As accessibility isn’t the job of one person alone, we’re growing our team of Accessibility Champions to help enable this essential work. Our Champions are the voice of our disabled travellers, ensuring accessibility is considered within their teams ranging from Design, Engineering and Product, to Marketing, Customer Service and Office Management.
- Regular user research
Understanding the needs of travellers with disabilities through dedicated research and user testing is crucial, so we’re doing more of it. We’ve recently learned so much from testing sessions with people with dyslexia, people who are colour blind, and visually impaired screen reader users. This informs our design and build decisions, resulting in more accessible products.
- Continual education
Our team workshops and training are helping us learn how to create accessible products while building empathy with our disabled travellers at the same time. We’ve also taken part in knowledge sharing sessions with other organisations including Sainsbury’s and Scottish Enterprise (read more in their blog about our session).
Joining The Valuable 500
It’s vital that our Accessibility Programme continues to grow so we can better serve disabled travellers across the globe. To that end, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve joined The Valuable 500 – a collection of 500 national and multinational companies who have all committed to putting disability on their agenda, to make real global change happen.
Each company makes a public pledge, signed by their CEO, stating how they plan to improve disability inclusion within their organisation or in the products and services they provide. Everyone is at different stages on their journey towards inclusion, so every commitment is different. Here’s ours.
We commit to:
- Training everyone at Skyscanner to design accessible products and services that empower all travellers, including those with disabilities to plan, book and explore.
- Growing our network of Accessibility Champions to embed inclusivity into our business.
- Making our internal resources a best-in-class knowledge hub that puts inclusion at the heart of every role.
- Giving people with disabilities a voice in our product development through our user research and testing processes.
- Measuring our user experiences against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to identify issues, allowing us to constantly learn and improve.
- Removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities to focus on innovation and talent above all.
- Making disability inclusion the heartbeat of our business culture to create a workplace that’s accessible and welcoming to all.
Accessibility is now part of our Production Standards and has been added to our Company Strategy. We commit to delivering this across all levels of Skyscanner – inclusivity is a driving force of our business.
Caroline Casey, who founded The Valuable 500, shared with us:
“The past year has shown us opportunities and barriers for those with disabilities. Whilst remote working suited some people there were digital walls put up as websites and technology were not created with everyone in mind. Digital accessibility must become the normal, for we cannot afford to shut people out due to their differences.
We are really pleased to welcome Skyscanner to The Valuable 500 and applaud the work they are doing to ensure their website and app are built and designed so that they are accessible for all.”
We know that making a commitment is the easy part – actually making change happen takes effort, time and the work of many. As we believe the world belongs to everyone and so should be accessible by all, improving disability inclusion is something that’s extremely important to us and we’re dedicated to making it happen.