AccessAbility Playbook - Play 3 Involve persons with disabilities from the start

Play 3 Involve persons with disabilities from the start

Our communities are diverse - we live in different places, with different circumstances. We are old, young, live with a disability and difficulties, and speak multiple languages; we are diverse individuals and communities. However, often goods and services are designed as if we are all the same.


Recognize the value of including persons with disabilities

The more you know about your clients, the better you are at understanding their needs and expectations.

Recruitment of persons with disabilities

When you conduct research and user testing (UX), partner with organizations that can introduce you to persons with disabilities willing to participate and offer feedback. You will then discover insights you won’t gain from reading accessibility standards documentation — like how to create a great client experience (CX) for anyone with permanent, situational, or temporary physical or cognitive challenges.

The approach you use to recruit user testers will exclude some profiles so use multiple approaches to ensure diversity. While many individuals have a disability, each disability is different so be careful not to dismiss outliers in the data as errors or 'white noise'. It might be a person with a disability giving you feedback about what doesn’t work.

Engagement and consultations

Reach out to non-government organizations (NGOs) and advocacy groups that work directly with persons with disabilities. Focus on building long-term relationships and leverage on their expertise, knowledge, tools, resources and networks for ongoing engagement and continuous service improvements.

Service Canada's Client Centric Policy Playbook 1.0 provides helpful information for engagement. Additionally ESDC has developed guidance for running accessible consultations.

Test your channels, processes and tools while ensuring equal participation.

Feedback mechanisms 

Anytime you share information across channels, make sure you provide options to gather client feedback. This can either be done verbally, by email, by phone, through online surveys or feedback forms. Other methods can also include outcomes from stakeholder consultations or advocacy groups, social media posts, blogs, site visits / observation shadowing, focus groups interviews. Do your service representatives know how to convey informal feedback to someone in a position to address it?

Measurements for client satisfaction

Use different ways to track client satisfaction across all service delivery channels. Find out things like what is preventing clients from feeling positive about their experience, what are some of the challenges, what is not consistent, and how you can do better. Over the past four years, Service Canada has been refining its Client Experience surveys to better understand the challenges that clients with disabilities experience.

Check out the CX survey measurements (coming soon).

Gather rich client data

Your goal is to help clients be more independent and give them confidence that they can access government programs and services without difficulties.

To do so, you need to understand your clients and listen to what they have to say. After all, you are creating the experience for them - It should reflect the diversity of people who use your service.

Bring together multiple sources of client insights. This puts you in a great position to help support decision-making and create meaningful experiences that are easy, effective and for clients of all abilities.

  • Choose a random sample of clients that well represents the participation of persons with disabilities.
  • Review your current methods to ensure clients are reachable.
  • Ensure your co-design process are truly accessible.

Use innovative tools such as journey mapping to help you identify the service barriers that are present across your channels and validate potential accessibility solutions.

Find out if your program or service is fully accessible. Conduct an early assessment of your accessibility features and evaluate whether or not you meet the needs of people with a wider range of abilities.

Check out the Client journey map templates (57 KB Word)

Check out the Assessment tool for programs and services (56 KB Word) related to accessibility in client service.

Client insights is an in-depth knowledge about your client (e.g. demographic, behavioural, needs-based, attitudes and feelings) generated by various types of environmental scans and research.