January Inclusion Newsletter

Reviewing Australia’s inclusion progress, 26 of January, community news and more. Read the full January wrap-up

January Inclusion Newsletter

Editor’s Note

Reviewing Australia’s Inclusion Progress in 2020

There is no doubt that inclusion and diversity were big topics in 2020. We faced many crises, notably a health crisis, an economic crisis and a racial injustice crisis globally. Movements were started and there is still so much work to do. 

As organisations and governments moved in order to meet the needs of a global pandemic, things that we thought would never happen – like full-time WFH – became our normal. 

We’ve collated our nation’s progress from an inclusion perspective. We’ve explored some of the key trends, breaking them up into the wins, what still needs improvement and areas where the jury is still out – where more critical thinking and listening is needed. The full article is available here

The 26 of January 

The 26 of January is the most debated holiday in the Australian calendar. On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack at Sydney Cove, declaring it a British colony. Exactly fifty years later, the date was marked as a public holiday – the Jubilee of British occupation. From that point on, the 26 was celebrated in evolving forms – first state wide, then nationally – until it officially came to be ‘Australia Day’ in 1994.

Due to fact that the date is historically one of invasion and colonisation, many Australians have called to change the date, arguing that we can celebrate our nation on a day less historically painful for our First Nations people. The debate, that occurs annually, is an opportunity to reflect on our own thoughts on the day and its meaning. So, with the 26 of January approaching, we have collated different views on the day for you to explore.

We would love to hear your thoughts on these topics. As always, you can find us at or contact me directly at  

This newsletter was created on Gadigal Land. We recognise all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Elders past, present and emerging. 

Thank you, 

Manisha Amin, CEO, Centre for Inclusive Design

Community News

Vale Leonie Jackson 

With great sadness, we wish to acknowledge the passing of Leonie Jackson. Leonie has been described as one of the strongest advocates for Australia’s Deaf Community in recent history. She made great impact in her five years as CEO of the Deaf Society; impact that stretched outside of the organisation to the disability sector at large.

Recognising World Braille Day

On January 4 we celebrated World Braille Day. Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. Braille is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font. This episode of the 99% Invisible podcast covers how braille was created. While the podcast is about a physical product, it encourages us to think about how divergent products can be when they are created by the person with lived experience, as opposed to for the person. 

The new Apple Fitness+ platform and diversity 

Apple has recently launched Apple Fitness+, the first fitness experience built around Apple Watch. The platform brings inclusive and welcoming studio-style workouts to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. The Fitness+ trainers are a diverse, inclusive, and approachable team made up of people with their own unique and inspiring story. A wonderful initiative to see. Full update from Apple available here

High-school bullying drove Meica to despair, until she discovered goalball

If it wasn’t for goalball, Meica Horsburgh thinks the worst may have happened to her. The 31-year-old is now the captain of the Australian women’s goalball team, a sport for those who are blind or vision impaired where the object is to throw a ball into the opponent’s net to score. Meica will be playing goalball at her third Paralympics in Tokyo this year, which is an incredible feat. This ABC article covers how goalball helped turn Meica’s life around. 

Westpac has become New Zealand’s first bank to offer free in-branch sign language interpreters for Deaf customers

Approximately 4,500 Deaf Kiwis use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as their first or preferred form of communication and more than 20,000 people in total use NZSL – including parents and family members who use it with their deaf family member. Westpac NZ is now offering NZSL interpreters to Deaf customers at no extra cost to the customer. Full announcement available here


5 misconceptions about accessibility that harm people and products

“Every time I see those clean, fancy-looking user interfaces with light grey fonts and mind-blowing animations, it feels like something is missing there. Beautiful interfaces delight users, but they aren’t the main goal that designers should be sticking to. Clean and polished user interfaces that miss crucial details don’t work for a large number of people.” Nadiya Abrosimova discusses the most common misconceptions about accessibility so we don’t neglect it in our product designs. Full article by Nadiva available here

The research is in: 50 years of children drawing scientists

When boys and girls were asked to draw a scientist in a study several decades ago, the results revealed a stunning bias: 99.4 percent of the drawings depicted a male scientist. Today, more than half of girls draw a woman when asked to draw a scientist. In this article 50 Years of Children Drawing Scientists, Youki Terada explores the findings of the studies and shares how we can promote inclusion within the sciences. 

Case Study

The Challenge 

Serving over 9 million customers and displaying a commitment to vulnerable customers, the bank approached Centre for Inclusive Design to complete an important initiative set out in their vulnerability framework. This initiative aims to promote fair and inclusive banking by creating a visual easy read guide about the fee-free, everyday personal transaction account and information on how to use it.
Head to our blog to view the full case study.

Inspiration Series

On Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in May 2020, we launched our Inspiration Series. We have curated a list of resources that our community and team find inspiring. Things to assist in furthering the conversations on accessibility for the uninitiated and those who live and breathe accessibility. We hope these resources help you help others to think, talk and learn more about digital inclusion. 

Alan Bird, Global Business Development Leader at W3C

Recommendation: Web Accessibility and W3C Standards Video. (Video with transcript and multilingual captions available) 

Why? I am often asked “What does Web Accessibility mean and why should I care?” This video, in a little over 4 minutes, outlines the value of putting accessibility into your website and shows you how doing so has a positive impact on the 1B people with disabilities. It is narrated by Shadi Abou-Zahra. I think that anyone studying Web Technologies in University, or those in organizations who are struggling to answer the internal questions around accessibility, is a solid and authoritative asset.

Léonie Watson, Director and Co-founder at Tetra Logical

Recommendation: The Inclusive Design Principles. (Webpage, available in five languages) 

Why? Henny Swan, Ian Pouncey, Heydon Pickering and myself wrote ‘The Inclusive Design Principles’ to help people think about accessibility beyond WCAG and technical conformance.