07 November 2019 New ‘Easy Read’ website launched for the NDIS

The NDIS is embarking on a nation-wide effort to empower NDIS participants with more choice and control through supporting them to succeed in employment opportunities (read more about the announcement here).

To assist with this effort the NDIA commissioned Icon Agency to develop a new NDIS ‘Easy Read’ website that helps participants understand how the NDIS can assist, how to build goals around finding and keeping a job, building skills and accessing support. The new site also has information on starting a business and retirement planning. 

Icon’s UX and developer teams worked with The Information Access Group, who specialise in content writing for accessibility, plus NDIS participants and expert staff to design, develop and launch the new ‘Easy Read’ website. The new site uses principals from 'Easy English' – a simplified form of plain English that is used for written information, often using pictures and short sentences. This technique is helpful for people with a cognitive or an intellectual disability or low English language literacy levels (read more about Easy Englsh here). 

Whilst WCAG compliance is standard practice for the government websites Icon builds, there is a gap in accessibility and usability guidelines for people with a cognitive disability. Helping visitors self-serve and understand content was a primary goal for this important project. It required Icon to invest heavily in R&D and test via a group of participants with varying levels of disability. The process included:

  • Face-to-face interviews with participants
  • An introduction to the website on a laptop, computer or tablet
  • Hands-on testing of high-fidelity wireframes, and
  • Guiding participants through a series of prescribed user tasks.

Tasks were designed to test navigation prototypes and refine the process of finding information related to key user goals. Senior UX/UI Designer Luke Matthews notes, “User testing provided important insights into user behaviour. Improvements were then made to simplify the content, make action items more prominent and encourage scrolling on longer pages.”
 
Learnings from the testing phase were compiled into a report and presented to the NDIA. Icon was then given the go-ahead to design and develop an Easy Access version of the Participant Employment section of the NDIS website, test for WCAG accessibility compliance, and partner with groups such as Vision Australia to ensure technical usability worked in the real world – a step too often missed.
 
We are proud to help visitors of all abilities access the NDIS website, and we're looking forward to extending this work and making further improvements based on user feedback and data.

Visit the Easy Read site to see it in action. 

Contact us if you’re interested in a more detailed overview of our methodologies and how they can benefit your website’s users.