A Chichester web design agency
Access by Design was founded by Clive and Jess Loseby in 2006.
Clive and Jess were passengers in a horrific car accident in 1989, when they were teenagers. It left them with profound, life-changing injuries. They were suddenly confronted with the fact that lovely, historic Chichester, where they lived, was actually lovely, historic, inaccessible Chichester if you were a wheelchair user.
Campaign for change!
With no legal backing, as the Disability Discrimination Act did not come into force until some years later, Jess formed a pressure group and campaigned to change this. As a result of her tireless campaigning, 4000 dropped kerbs were put in by the Council and, one by one, all the historic, inaccessible listed buildings in Chichester began to change and found that they could become accessible after all. She literally changed the face of Chichester.
What about websites?
Wind the clock forward to 2006. Clive and Jess started a web design agency. That was when Jess discovered that, although the physical world was now more accessible than it had been previously, as far as the Web was concerned, it was like being back in the 1980s!
The only websites that were accessible for disabled people were ones that were, frankly, not very nice to look at and this offended Jess’s sensibilities, as an artist. Jess then also discovered that there were guidelines in place to ensure that a website could meet the needs of disabled people. These were known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and had been in place since 1999!
What is in a name?
Jess came up with the name Access by Design because she wanted to prove to the world that you could have a website that was both well designed, whilst also being fully accessible for disabled people.
Although Jess has not been part of Access by Design for many years, those same principles will always be the guiding force behind every website we build now, and in the future.
Caption: The side of the completely wrecked car in June 1989 that Clive, Jess and their friends were in
The Accident photograph is published with the kind consent of Sussex Police.
The great thing about working with Access By Design is that they know everything. However small your project, they will bring a vast hinterland of knowledge to it. They'll tell you what's going to work, how it works and how you can make it better. The fact that they have devised software to make websites usable and readable for everyone speaks volumes. Clive Loseby always goes the extra mile to see that you get what you want. He'll even recommend things that have nothing to do with website design. I should also thank Polly for her patience and creativity in making it happen.
Our name tells you what we do!
The Disability Discrimination Act became law in 1995 and was replaced by the Equality Act in 2010. Physical access to buildings for disabled people has therefore been a legal right for many years. This same legal right also applies to websites and accessibility guidelines were first issued as far back as 1999. Sadly, according to the World Health Organisation, 98% of websites tested in 2020, failed to meet basic accessibility standards.
At Access by Design, we have always done things differently. Our mission is to prove that it is possible to have a website that is both fully accessible and beautifully designed, following principles laid down by Jess.
In 2011, we created the world’s first fully accessible website that was also both mobile and tablet friendly and we have been doing the same with every website built since. This was recognised when we won the Product Innovation Award in the Observer Business Awards in 2015.
In 2016 we launched what has become our flagship product: Run Your Own Website. This is a lower-cost version of our bespoke WordPress websites. It allows a wider range of clients to have websites that still met our stringent standards. Version 2 was launched in 2021 and offers additional options such as e-commerce, a subscription paywall and many other features. It is our biggest-selling product and was Highly Commended in the Product Innovation Category at the Observer Business Awards in 2018.
In the many years Access by Design has been designing and building websites in WordPress, they have never bought a template from a third party – they have always coded their own, to ensure quality and integrity of code. This is important from an accessibility point of view and very important to Google as well. Google (and every other Search Engine) is, in effect, "blind". This is why it favours websites that are built properly and are accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability or disability.