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Creating a more inclusive world by promoting, celebrating and providing education about digital accessibility.

CFA Australia

Centre for Accessibility Australia (CFA Australia)

The Centre for Accessibility Australia (CFA Australia) was co-founded by Media on Mars and Dr Scott Hollier, and uses advocacy, education and recognition to reduce the digital divide for people with disability.

For people living with disability, much of the internet remains inaccessible. Digital accessibility provides a means for many people to live more equitable and independent lives.

CFA Australia directly supports people with disability, empowers organisations to become accessible and celebrates accessibility wins through awards and the accessibility social movement.

'If you had said to me a few years ago that I would be the CEO of a thriving not for profit that was hosting awards, winning grants and attracting international sponsorship I would have found it difficult to believe that so much could happen so soon.'

'Media on Mars have partnered with the Centre for Accessibility and have provided support every step of the way through their dedicated staff, great work and best of all, their willingness to try new things and see where they land.'

Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Strategy

When Kammi met Dr Scott Hollier, Media on Mars had been fighting a battle to get people invested in digital accessibility. Kammi knew immediately that Scott was someone who, given a team and the right support, could really make a change for accessibility awareness and action.

Portrait of Scott Hollier image

Thinking bigger

Kammi encouraged Scott to think bigger and capitalise on his unique combination of technical expertise, lived experience (Scott is legally blind) and people skills. Together, Media on Mars and Scott founded and launched the Centre for Accessibility Australia.

CFA Awards image

Sustainable and scalable

It was important for the Centre, once established, to be self-sustaining and scalable. We worked with CFA Australia to develop diverse income streams, including a membership model, training and workshops, auditing, sponsorship and grant-funded sector-based projects.

Scott Hollier presenting

Shining a light on Scott

We know that Scott has something special to offer, and we’re on a mission to share it with the world. We support Scott to undertake speaking engagements, and our nomination took him to the finals of the Australian of the Year awards.

Scott Hollier present

We saw the potential for something groundbreaking in Scott and CFA Australia. The Centre is now an ever-evolving organisation, making measurable change in how people think of and implement digital accessibility.

‘Accessibility isn’t just about compliance. For myself, being legally blind, accessibility is the difference between independently achieving my goals or struggling and relying heavily on others.’

Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Social Movement Strategy

People only invest in causes they understand and empathise with. To see real change, we needed to build public support for improved digital accessibility.

Helen Errington presenting

Building a social movement

We created a comprehensive communications plan covering social media, video storytelling, public relations, speaking engagements, policy advocacy and celebrations of accessibility best practice.

Leveraging insights

Drawing on day-to-day digital roadblocks – like being unable to order groceries or buy concert tickets online – we shone a light on life without digital accessibility.

Two people having coffee image

Encouraging participation

We encouraged people to be active in the movement by sharing accessibility tips for everyday tech users alongside workshops and accessibility services for businesses and designers.

People talking in a gallery

In just two years, we’ve seen an enormous increase in public interest towards prioritising accessibility.

‘Once you see accessibility, you can’t unsee it. Our hope is this movement will dramatically improve the lives of people with disability all around the world.’

Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Branding Overview

CFA Australia’s brand needed to be visually and tonally accessible, recognisable and trustworthy, and create links between disability and the digital world.

Accessibility by design

CFA Australia’s colour palette meets accessibility contrast standards, and we chose a combination of dark grey backgrounds and off-white text – along with an accessible typeface – for maximum reader comfort.

CFA Colours template

Visually linking disability and the digital world

We developed a pattern of coloured squares that draws inspiration from Braille and pixels to create a visual link between accessibility and digital technologies.

CFA colours template 2

A welcoming, informed voice

The CFA Australia brand voice is straightforward, facts-based and welcoming. Written communications are trustworthy and reflect the values and expertise of the Centre.

Branding pamphlet for CFA

CFA Australia now leads by example with an instantly recognisable and thoughtfully designed brand that doesn’t compromise on accessibility.

Accessible Website

CFA Australia’s website needed to set the benchmark for digital accessibility, show that accessibility doesn’t get in the way of great design, and build trust in the organisation.

Image of a person named peter

Accessibility beyond compliance

The site isn’t just functionally accessible. We worked with CFA Australia members and volunteers to make sure the website exceeds accessibility requirements.

CFA website

Heading up navigation

Each page is broken into sections that are all signposted by labelled headers, making the website intuitive and easy to navigate using a screen reader.

A consistent experience for all users

We designed the website styles to make sure all visitors’ experiences are consistent, with or without visuals, however they access the site.

CFA Australia now walks the talk with a website that showcases the gold standard of accessibility and provides a platform for people to learn more about the Centre, its activities, workshops and latest news.

‘If it weren’t for the Media on Mars' support, we’d likely still have a small outdated online resource instead of a thriving organisation alleviating hardship for people with disability.’

Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Australian Access Awards

Where regulation threatens punishment, CFA Australia wanted to provide a positive incentive to making content accessible.

Australian Access awards crowd image

Carrots instead of sticks

Drawing on the carrot and stick analogy, we proposed that an awards ceremony celebrating best practice in accessibility would act as a carrot to regulation’s stick. The bi-annual Australian Access Awards event was born.

2 people smiling over champagne

Fostering relationships and sourcing sponsers

Prior to the awards each year, we research and reach out to organisations we have identified as a good match to sponsor the event, generating and maintaining positive sponsorship relationships.

Building a buzz

With a mix of interviews from previous years’ awards, photography, public relations and social media, we build engagement and public interest before, during and after the event.

Encouraging nominations

We encourage awards nominations by researching and contacting promising organisations and individuals, providing information about the awards and assisting them to nominate.

All CFA nominations and winners on stage

Running a smooth event

Leading up to the event and on the night itself, we manage all aspects of the awards, from hiring accessible spaces and arranging catering to technical production, securing appropriate performers and presenters, and liaising with attendees.

Production team behind stage at CFA Awards Event

Setting the benchmark for event accessibility

An event celebrating best practice in accessibility needs to show what’s possible. In addition to ensuring physical accessibility, we organise and manage the delivery of livestream captioning, audio descriptions and Auslan interpreters.

CFA awards someone presenting

Recording success

We capture the night in high-quality videography and photography, including behind the scenes shots and conduct engaging interviews with winners.

Camera person at the event

The Australian Access Awards event continues to raise awareness of CFA Australia’s work, strengthen the perception of the Centre as collaborative and contemporary, and reframe accessibility from a box-ticking exercise to something to celebrate.

‘The Australian Access Awards were fantastic. Not just the awards, but the conversations that take place. Access is a fundamental human right. Inclusion is a non-negotiable. So we need to make sure that we reinforce that argument and that point in these spaces. It is also really good to go, “It is a non-negotiable, and this is how you meet that obligation well.” I think that is what the Access Awards allows us to do.’

Senator Jordan Steele-John

Annual Story

We recognised that CFA Australia’s annual report was a chance to create an accessible and emotive document that not only showcases the Centre’s ongoing impact, but also inspires and educates readers.

Photo of the annual story report

Framing CFA Australia's work in a global context

In consultation with Dr Scott Hollier, we identified the most important messages to include in the report, supported by our research into accessibility across the world.

Building an accessible story

We wrote the annual report as an ‘annual story’ – shifting the content from dry and procedural to engaging and informative. We simplified complex concepts for time-poor readers, which added to the document’s accessibility.

Targeted delivery

We strategically managed distribution to key stakeholders and influential decision-makers, ensuring each received an Annual Story, either in person or by post. We followed up delivery with a call or email to check in. This led to the Minister for Education, Sue Ellery, sharing the Annual Story far and wide through her networks.

The Annual Story is a powerful lobbying tool that meets reporting requirements and provides an opportunity to genuinely engage stakeholders with up-to-date research and yearly updates on CFA Australia’s activities.

‘The Annual Story has showcased the importance of digital access and our work in the sector. This has had a major impact in the lives of people with disability, and their ability to overcome digital access issues.’

Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Accessibility Communications Campaign

CFA Australia wanted the opportunity to further establish itself as the Australian authority on digital accessibility by sharing its mission and resources with a greater audience.

Establishing a niche

CFA Australia already held a unique position as the authority on digital accessibility in Australia. To amplify this niche, we identified content pillars to provide structure and consistency to CFA Australia’s social media posts.

Curating visuals and voice

We developed a trustworthy, informative voice and visual style for CFA Australia communications content, and implemented it throughout bi-monthly email campaigns and regular social media posts.

Scheduling for success

With the use of scheduling and integrated marketing platforms, we ensured consistency and took the stress out of CFA Australia’s accessibility communications campaign.

CFA Australia’s social media following and interactions have boomed in the wake of our campaign, and we have laid solid, tactical foundations for continued campaigning.

‘CFA Australia is grateful for the amazing work of Media on Mars in providing effective comms for all our activities: fantastic engagement for our Access Awards, promotion of our news items, website updates and ongoing strategic guidance around our digital effectiveness. The Mars team have supported us from day one, and we look forward to our ongoing engagement.’
Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Accessibility Specialist, CEO and Co-Founder CFA Australia

Photography and Videography

We saw an opportunity for CFA Australia to amplify the experiences of people with disability by creating a content bank – in consultation with people with disability – that showcases real people with a wide range of disability.

Disability's turn in the spotlight

We put out a call for people to take part in our shoots and were flooded with responses from people who rarely get an opportunity to be in the spotlight.

Highlighting the diversity of disability

Disability is varied. Some people use mobility and communication technologies and others don’t – we captured them all.

Celebrating the day-to-day

Our content bank’s focus is on people doing ordinary things, to accurately represent the everyday lives of people with disability.

CFA Australia now has a collection of media that puts the spotlight on disability, celebrates diversity and authentically captures the daily lives of people with disability.

‘The whole experience was really positive for Eamon. Thank you for the respectful way everyone accommodated Eamon's needs and your flexibility with the shoot time. Eamon is proud to have participated and has been telling his friends all about it.’

Julie Guilfoile, parent of Eamon, a photo and video shoot participant

Telcos for All

CFA Australia identified that inaccessible websites were leading to people with disability being overcharged for internet and phone data. The Centre needed a way to advocate to telecommunications (telco) companies for improved accessibility.

Writing the winning grant

We wrote and won an ACCAN grant to fund an audit into the major telcos. We worked with CFA Australia to define deliverables and got in touch with telcos to encourage participation in the project.

Research to action

We created research material that people would actually engage with and act on – a beautifully designed report, tips sheets for immediate action and individualised audit reports for the telcos.

Moving beyond compliance

We produced a video featuring representatives from the companies describing their positive experiences with the project. All were genuinely motivated into action, and shared their plans to improve accessibility.

As a direct result of this project, telcos enthusiastically took steps to ensure that people with disability have improved access to their websites.

'The workshop with Scott, where all the telcos came together, was fantastic. Amazing to see everyone come together to talk about a common subject and build that awareness and understanding.'

Ben Pintos-Oliver, Digital Systems GM, Telstra

25 Years

In the game for twenty-five years.

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