Making Accessibility 1% Sexier

I have a problem. How do I make access and making things accessible and inclusive sexy and appealing? There are those who get it and those who don’t. Which category do you fall into?

There’s the Equality Act 2012 so it must be important mustn’t it? But, how much is access a box ticking exercise for your business and approached with the attitude of ‘better than nothing’. Do you think, ‘What can I do? I can’t change the World.’ Maybe not, but you can change the World for someone.


I’m Sarah Gatford and I bridge the gap between Deaf and hearing people through my work as a Consultant, Trainer and BSL/English Interpreter.

Sarah Gatford-10

Quite often when I tell people what I do I get the response of, ‘How interesting’, ‘That’s nice’, ‘I always wanted to learn sign language’ (if I had £1 for every time I’ve heard that!). It’s not just about learning to sign though, it’s having the awareness of why you want to do it.

Derby has the largest Deaf community outside of London


I want to normalise this access thing – make communication access as normal as ramps into buildings are nowadays. We don’t bat an eyelid anymore when there’s a ramp or a push button to go through an automatic door.


Subtitles and interpreters on videos would make a huge difference, especially if this is done when the videos are initially made. How often do you watch a video on social media that’s got subtitles but skip over the ones that don’t? That’s almost making access sexier and more appealing and not a box ticking exercise…it’s more normal now and there’s a benefit when creating video content. You might think, ‘Why should I? I don’t get any Deaf or hard of hearing customers.’

Think about that statement.

There may be a reason for that. There are people out there who don’t want to admit they can’t hear quite as well as they used to – it’s not good for the ego. Wouldn’t it be fab to actually offer something before it’s asked for in a format that means people don’t have to struggle to understand? I’m sure those of us who can hear well now will appreciate it in our dotage – so really what we’re doing is making things easier for ourselves in the future.


Want to be sexier and more appealing?


Sign up to a 1% pledge to improve your accessibility. My vision is to get 100 businesses sign up to this 1% pledge, then there’ll be a 100% improvement in access. Where does the idea come from?

1-percentIn 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough job.

No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, but as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team), Brailsford was asked to change that.

His approach was simple.

Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.

They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, the ergonomics of the bike seat, and the weight of the tires.

But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there. They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else: discovering the pillow that offered the best sleep and taking it with them to hotels, testing for the most effective type of massage gel, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection. They searched for 1 percent improvements everywhere.

Brailsford believed that if they could successfully execute this strategy, then Team Sky would be in a position to win the Tour de France in five years time.

He was wrong. They won it in three years.

In 2012, Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. That same year, Brailsford coached the British cycling team at the 2012 Olympic Games and dominated the competition by winning 70 percent of the gold medals available.

In 2013, Team Sky repeated their feat by winning the Tour de France again, this time with rider Chris Froome. Many have referred to the British cycling feats in the Olympics and the Tour de France over the past 10 years as the most successful run in modern cycling history.

So who wants to follow in the tracks of this success? Let’s be pioneers and let’s make it happen.

Join me in being more accessible. Get in touch with your 1% contribution and share your ideas. I have a few, if you need a bit of support and they don’t necessarily cost much money.



07866 529366