SSI Digital Accessibility

Shwmae SSI team,

I’ve just submitted the below via the Automagic feedback option, but wanted to post it here too for the purpose of raising awareness. Here’s what I wrote:

A stop-start Welsh learner here. I’m mostly using the MP3s, but I pop onto the website every so often to see what’s new. You may remember a couple of years ago I gave you some feedback regarding the inaccessibility of the website. This is the main reason why I don’t use it often. As a blind screen reader user, the site is incredibly challenging to navigate, including the forums, which is why I don’t engage with the community and content as much as I would like to.
Unfortunately, Automagic is also inaccessible. I thought I’d give it a try, and I can’t use it at all. As a digital accessibility consultant, I know the hacks to work with inaccessible components of webpages, but even they didn’t work. I’m going to get techy for a bit. here’s some of what I’ve found:

  • the tabs, such as learning, settings etc, look like plain text to a screen reader user. In the code, I see they’ve been written as divs, styled to look like tabs, but semantically they don’t behave as such in the browser. The current process for making tabs accessible is to use a combination of ARIA and JavaScript. Please see Tabs Pattern | APG | WAI | W3C for more information).
  • My screen reader has detected a number of graphics on the page which have no alt text (an image description so blind people know what it contains)
  • the instructions tell me to start by pressing the play button, which I cannot find at all . It seems that no semantic html button has been used.
  • none of the options, with the exception of “feedback”, can be accessed in the tab order, so they can’t be accessed by screen reader or keyboard users. They can only be accessed with a mouse.

20% of the world’s population has a disability. By not making SSI fully accessible, you’re excluding 20% of the population from the opportunity to learn Welsh and other SSI languages currently available. When digital products are accessible, they work better for everyone, not just people with disabilities.

Last time I provided feedback, it was acknowledged but I believe you didn’t have the capacity at the time to consider making changes. While I understand this, it is much harder to retrofit accessibility later, and is more costly.
I’d really like to help you make SSI more accessible, even if it’s voluntarily in my spare time. I’m happy to send you some information about the digital accessibility services I offer.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you will commit to making SSI more accessible and inclusive for all users.



These are excellent points, Lauren, but as I’m not in a position to address them, I’m tagging @aran, @CatrinLliarJones and @Deborah-SSi here so that they’ll see the post quicker and be able to pass it all on to the whole team for discussion.

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Thanks for this post, Lauren. It’s good to see digital accessibility issues being raised, and I hope the SSI team decide to act on your feedback so that everyone can use the site and app.

The alt-text change is a very simple one to make – it doesn’t require any major changes or technical knowledge, just the addition of a few alt tags to the HTML.

Hi all, just to let you know that our tech team are aware of current difficulties regarding accessibility issues on our online platforms and are currently considering all options whilst we work on developing our new website and apps.

We are very grateful for your feedback, it’s invaluable to us and will continue to be a source of useful user information as we develop further.

We hope we will soon be able to answer all your needs and we thank you for your patience.

We will continue to keep you up to date with what’s going on with our new apps and hope well have some exciting news for you soon.

Diolch bawb.

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Diolch, Catrin! I’m really pleased to hear that accessibility is being integrated into future versions of the site and app.
Can I please encourage you, if you’re not already, to work with users with disabilities to test everything at various stages of development. I’d also be happy to help with this. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn here:


Diolch Lauren!

It may not be a quick fix but we will do our very best! :blush:


Diolch yn fawr, Lauren - we know we haven’t done very well with this yet - we think the outward-facing (non-membership) parts of the site should now be much better, but we know we’ve got work to do - and we’d be very grateful for your help, so we’ll definitely be in touch. :slightly_smiling_face:


Excellent point. I am not a disabled user, but recognise the importance of accessibility.
The WWW is a wonderful resource, but I am often frustrated and annoyed at the design deficiencies of so many pages.
I am pleased to see that SSI seems to be taking the matter seriously and hope progress will continue.


I’m also a screen reader user and I’d just like to add my support here to what Lauren has said. When I received a promotional email the other day I thought I’d give SSI AutoMagic a go. It sounded as if it couldn’t be simpler - just press Play. However, my screen reader couldn’t detect a Play button so I’ve had to give up. I just wanted to hold my hand up as well, to reiterate the point that inaccessible websites and apps do in fact lose customers for a business. I’d also be happy to help out with testing of any changes you make to make SSI accessible. I do hope you can do something soon.




Hi :wave:
I am just like many of your other users who are enjoying learning after 50. As we have been using our eyes and ears for a good length of time they are suffering from a bit of wear now… and while the volume is totally accessible to all, no one thinks to do the same for font size, which baffles me as so many folks of all ages would use such a pair of buttons if it were available!
This forum gives me a headache literally as I have to squint so hard to read it even with my best specs on.
I would say that’s an easy win for all, but not necessarily a quick fix, depending on how the website works at the back end.
Thank you for everything you’ve done already and everything you are planning!

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Just a thought that might help that people may not be aware of regarding font size -

If you’re using a pc with a mouse, you can enlarge the whole text by simply using the scroll wheel on the mouse while holding down the ctrl button on the keypad.

(There may well be a way to do it without a mouse, but I only ever use a mouse, so maybe someone else knows about that)


It works! I never knew that!

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Well, I’m glad it worked for you, I have no scroll button on my mouse and mostly I look at SSIW on my iPad or phone.
It’s the forum with the smallest writing and it is not enlarged by my settings as with other sites.

@lorenza-clifford this isn’t an excuse for the site not adhering to your device settings but the following might help somewhat.

  • At the top right hand corner there is a circle with the first letter of your name, for you it will be a greyish “L”.

  • Click it and a list of notifications will drop down, but at the top of that list are some icons. The furthest to the right is a person.

  • Click that and a menu will replace the notifications. The fifth down says “Preferences”.


  • Clicking that will take you to a page where the “main” area of the page is split in two: a menu on the left, some changeable settings on the right.

  • The bottom item in the menu is “Interface”. If you choose that the settings area will have a drop down box for Text Size" which you can change from “Normal” to “Larger” or “Largest”

  • You can then press the blue “Save Changes” button.

I have tested it for myself and it does work, but the size difference could still be more pronounced.


Thank you for the clear instructions that were easy to follow. It is good that the option is there, and it will help, however the difference as you say is not overwhelming! I do appreciate that you are doing what you can with a tight budget!

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I am just a user like you. When it comes to the forum the issue lies with the interaction between discourse (the forum software) and iOS (the operating system on iPads and iPhones). The developers of that software (which is very widely used, although I have never really understood why) are aware of the issue. I don’t know if it is fixed in newer versions or not, but I expect the answer is sadly “not yet”, and I think they have far less excuse than SSi.


I just saw a link to this post in the SSI newsletter - thank you! I’ve not been getting notifications about this post for some reason, so had no idea the discussion was continuing. A few points:

  • @Aran, I’ve received your LinkedIn message. I haven’t forgotten to reply … life has been a little chaotic here.
  • Chris: yes, the Automagic is impossible with a screen reader. I’d suggest working with the downloadable course material for now. I spent ages downloading all the content so I can access it from my phone.
  • if you’re not using a mouse and want to zoom your screen, press control and - or control and =.
  • Websites can be designed in such a way that they respect user’s settings. For example, if you’re using windows high contrast mode, or screen magnification, or you’ve turned on reduced motion, this will be detected and your settings will be kept in place. Given the problems people have mentioned, I’m guessing this isn’t the case currently. Something to note for future developments.

Thanks for your message on LinkedIn, Lauren - I’m just about to email you :slight_smile:

And huge thanks to everyone else in this thread - the people who are kind and patient enough to let us know about their experiences, and the people who are going above and beyond helping explain ways to deal with the current set-up - we appreciate you all enormously :heart: