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It’s great to build a tool that lets people complete a task. But it's not great if everyone who needs to use the tool can't access it  especially if this creates a barrier for people needing to use essential government services.

In this issue, we talk about how we’re working on improving inclusive research practices with colleagues across government, and how we’re starting to work on making government forms more accessible.

People connecting over a virtual meeting to discuss work and new ideas.

More inclusive design research

One of the biggest challenges we face is doing research that we feel represents the needs of all users — not just the most obvious users. The research community here at CDS thinks about this so much that we decided to make it the topic of our last community of practice meetup: advocating for underrepresented users through UX and design research.

Two of the organizers share their learnings from the event in one of our latest blog posts.

Four different government forms illustrated with different animal features: one with a tail, one with wings, one with a beak, and one as a butterfly.

More accessible government forms

Government forms have a bad reputation for being hard to fill out and hard to administer. It’s no easy task to distill complex processes into an easy-to-understand set of questions, that’s also accessible to everyone who needs to use it. 

Well designed online forms are more accessible than their paper counterparts, but the act of getting a form online for public servants is far from simple. That’s why we started working on a new product to meet the need of a simple drafting and publishing forms platform, designed and built for the Government of Canada.

In our first blog about this new product, our researcher dives into step one of building this platform: categorizing all the different types of government forms currently on offer.


Quick tips:
Don't "click here"

If you’re involved in web content creation, and you’re looking for an easy way to improve the accessibility of your links, consider how you present your hyperlinked text.

More accessible links can be as simple as avoiding two small words: "click here".

Why? Screen readers read the hyperlinked text as the description of what the link is, to give people the context to understand where it leads. “Click here” doesn’t tell people what the link is or where it leads, so they won’t know why they should click it.

Instead, link the URL to a more descriptive piece of text; one that can stand alone as context for where the hyperlink leads.


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In the community:

Career boot camp: taking your career path virtual
Canada School of Public Service
January 26 - February 3

Race in the field: navigating user research as designers of colour 
Adobe XD
January 29

Policy crunch: what’s happening to our legacy technologies and services? 
Institute on Governance
February 2

Agile methodology for digital government services ($)
February 9 - 10

Work with us!

We're hiring for a: 

  • Director of Digital Practice

If you think this could be you, apply to join the team!

We want to hear from you, eh?

What parts of this newsletter did you like most? Is there anything you'd like to see that we haven't talked about?  Let us know.

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Canadian Digital Service · Government of Canada · 219 Laurier Ave W · Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6 · Canada