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Senior Accessibility Specialist (Design System)

Government Digital Service (GDS) Manchester or London


Who we are

At the Government Digital Service (GDS), our mission is to build a simple, joined-up and personalised experience of government for everyone. Using our unique position at the centre of government, we develop services that work for the user, however complex the underlying systems may be. We believe that ensuring things work for end users is the only way to realise the efficiencies that come with digital transformation.

Our focus is on delivering five missions in the following areas:

GOV.UK as the single and trusted online destination for government information and services

Joined-up services that solve whole problems and span multiple departments

A simple digital identity solution that works for everyone

Common tools and expert services

Joined-up data across departments

You can read more about these missions and our vision for the transformation of government in our 2021-2024 strategy
What you'll do

The team

The GOV.UK Design System provides teams across government with the styles, components and patterns they need to design and build user-centered digital services.

The Design System team continuously improves and adds to the Design System, mainly by supporting contributions from across the government design community that represent the latest user research, innovation and best practices.

Anyone can become a contributor by making a proposal to the Design System team and working group.

A contribution could be to create a new, or to improve an existing:




piece of guidance

You will join the multidisciplinary team responsible for the Design System, leading on accessibility – but we know that accessibility is the whole team’s job.

You will play a key role in ensuring that the styles, components and patterns provided in the Design System work for everyone, meet the needs of disabled users and conform with accessibility standards.


ensure contributions to the Design System follow best practices for accessibility and meet accessibility standards, including related guidance

set the broader testing and auditing strategy, looking at how we make effective use of manual and automated testing, internal and external audits, and user research

understand how upcoming changes to standards and specifications (such as WCAG, WAI-ARIA, CSS and HTML) will affect the Design System

identify opportunities to propose improvements of standards to international communities (such as the W3C), on behalf of the government design community

understand how emerging technologies and new accessibility features (such as in assistive technologies, browsers or operating systems) will affect the Design System and identify opportunities to make GOV.UK more accessible to more people

ensure accessibility bugs and issues reported by our users are triaged, understood and prioritised appropriately

help other members of the team and contributors to raise bugs with assistive technology and browser vendors

As part of the team, you’ll help share the work we’ve done and the things we’ve learnt through blog posts and show and tells, with the option of presenting at conferences and meetups.

Who you are

We’re looking for people who have:

expert knowledge of existing and emerging accessibility guidelines and standards, particularly the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1;

familiarity with front-end development technologies, specifically HTML, CSS, JavaScript and WAI-ARIA

demonstrable experience of evaluating the accessibility of digital websites and providing feedback, advice and solutions to help fix identified issues

knowledge and experience of testing with a range of assistive technologies including customised browser settings, screen magnification, screen readers, speech recognition and literacy software

proven experience of collaborating with delivery teams to identify and fix accessibility barriers and raise accessibility capability

demonstrable ability to write accessibility guidance and documentation, and deliver accessibility training and presentations

experience working in flexible, agile environments and multi-disciplinary teams

GDS is based in Bristol, London and Manchester, and this role is part of our focussed growth in Manchester during 2021/22. You will be part of a growing community in Manchester, working with colleagues across all three sites. GDS supports flexible working, including a balance between office and home-based working. Normally this will mean 2 days a week in the office, or more if that works better for you and the role.

Please note this role is currently open for applications from existing Civil Servants and external applicants.

Applications from existing Civil Servants based in London will be considered and in line with your existing terms and conditions you will not be required to change location should you be successful during the selection process.

Please note a practical exercise will be used as part of the selection process.

How you'll be assessed

In the Civil Service, we use our Success Profiles. For each role we advertise we consider what you will need to demonstrate to be successful. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity. We will be looking at your experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the specific job role. We may assess your ability, strength, experience, technical/specialist skills and behaviours.

For this role the following behaviours are the most relevant:
Things you need to know

You can find out about the application process and practical details like our office locations on the things you need to know page.
Equal Opportunities

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity in our organisation. You can find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion and read our equal opportunities statement on our Diversity and Inclusion page.

Salary Range: $49700 - $56524

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