Intopia is now 18 months old and we have finished our first full financial year of operations. During this time, we have continued to grow and build on what was an amazing beginning. There is so much to share it’s hard to know where to start!
The number of people we have been supporting with their accessibility and digital inclusion work has continued to grow over the past 12 months. In Australia many of our clients are household names. The majority of them are not new to digital accessibility and they have a clear understanding about the type of support they want and need. What is really humbling, is that the majority of our work comes from referrals or repeat clients, including our very first client (Coles) who we are still helping today. We are obviously doing something right.
During the year we have received a lot of positive feedback but our personal favourite was: ‘Intopia – they actually give a shit’.
Today we have clients from around Australia coming from a diverse range of industries including retail, insurance, health, travel, banking and government.
New people, brand and services
We couldn’t support all our new clients without adding to our team. In September 2016, Allison Ravenhall joined Intopia and is based in Melbourne. Allison brings with her extensive digital accessibility experience including technical writing and some impressive Lego building skills – both of which are valuable additions to our team!
Believe it or not, we didn’t actually have a website for the first 3 months of our existence (we can laugh about it now, not so funny at the time though). Partly this was because we were too busy helping people, which is a nice problem to have. We eventually went live with a temporary website ahead of the 2016 CSUN conference. We then went through the journey of developing a brand and website that we felt truly reflected what we wanted Intopia to be. 12 months after we initially setup Intopia, we finally released our Intopia brand (and website). Everyone in the team contributed to its development, along with our friends at PB Web Development. Our aim was to make our brand fun and memorable and it looks like we’ve hit the mark.
In June we began adding to our services with the delivery of the first of our role based training courses, ‘Requirements and test management for accessibility’. This was soon followed by our ‘Developing for Accessibility 101 and 102’ courses. We now have released seven half-day and full-day courses. All of our courses are delivered by people with accessibility and training experience, and can be customised depending on audience and client request. If you would like to know more feel free to contact us.
Spreading the gospel of accessibility
We’ve also spent the past year travelling far and wide talking about accessibility. We are all passionate about accessibility, a value which is important to us as a company, and we enjoy every opportunity to share our knowledge. Events and conferences that we were a part of included CSUN, A11y Camp, OZeWAI, Inclusive Design 24 (ID24), Enabled by Design-a-thon, Web Directions Transform and Respond, IxDA and The Web Meetup. If you ever see us at an event take a moment and say hi and tell us what you are doing to help make things more accessible.
Working with purpose
Our focus from day one has been about creating an inclusive digital world for everyone. We identify as a social enterprise and we want to give as much as possible back to our community. We didn’t realise when we started that there was a growing industry based around ‘purpose’ driven businesses.
Last year we became members of the W3C, which was important for us to be able to drive our work within the accessibility community. But this year we also embraced two important initiatives in support of our social commitments.
1% Pledge – As part of this pledge we are committing to donate a minimum of 1% of our time, services and profit to support not-for-profit organisations, as well as our accessibility and disability communities. We believe this initiative is a perfect reflection of our own values and it made perfect sense for us to take the pledge. We join a growing community of tech businesses who have pledged to give back, including Atlassian and Salesforce.
B Corp Certification – B Corporations represent an emerging group of companies that are using the power of business to create a positive impact on the world and generate a shared and durable prosperity for all. In June we were proud to achieve certification as a B Corp. This was an important recognition and validation of Intopia and our social commitments. The process for certification is rigorous and we were told at the end of the process that not many organisations as young as ours are able to achieve certification.
The results of our social commitments
So what have we done to help our community? Our most important social commitment is to give back 5% of all of our revenue to organisations and initiatives that directly or indirectly support people with disabilities. We can announce that we were able to achieve that target last financial year! As a result we were able to financially support a number of amazing groups which included:
- NV Access
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance
- Blind Citizens Australia
- Attitude Foundation
- A11y Bytes
But we didn’t just limit ourselves to purely financial support. Our team also volunteered their time to a number of great causes and initiatives that focus on creating a more inclusive world for everyone. Some of these included:
- A11y Bytes
- A11y Camp
- Sydney Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
- Melbourne Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
- Mentors for the Enabled by Design-a-thon and the Remarkable Accelerator program
- Inclusive mobile app roundtable hosted by Telstra
- Metro Accessibility Resource Group
- NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
The next 12 months are looking even busier than the last. If you haven’t heard, we have already added two new members to our team. Andrew Arch has joined our Melbourne team after spending six years working in Canberra with the Australian Federal Government, most recently with the Digital Transformation Agency. Julie Grundy has also joined us in Perth after spending the last few years helping out the team at Simply Accessible. Both of them bring extensive experiences and have already proven to be great additions to the team.
We also have big plans for improving and increasing our range of services. The first of these is Intopia Connect which will help organisations conduct usability testing with real people with disabilities. More details of this service will be coming soon. Our other new services we will be looking to release in early 2018.
Finally, we would like to thank everyone who helped make the last year of Intopia a success and we look forward to an even bigger year ahead!