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A Year in Review: Top Accessibility Stories of 2023

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A collection of circles which are coloured and have images in them relating to the top accessibility stories of 2023 blog. These image include a PS5 accessibility controller, the WCAG logo, a railway ticket office and a digital exam.

As we begin to finish our holidays and return to work, it’s a great time to take a step back and look at how far accessibility has come in 2023.

This was a year when AI made its mark in the form of ChatGPT, an application that simplified creative writing and idea creation at the click of the keyboard, where we pushed for a close of the digital divide through accessible internet packages and computer skills workshops. And, we saw the Department of Justice (DOJ) across the pond, knuckle down on accessibility in mobile and app services.

But, throughout the last 12 months, there have been accessibility feats that have not just caught our eye but have made breakthroughs that will hopefully inspire others to follow suit for years to come. So without further ado, let’s take a look at Recite Me’s top accessibility stories of 2023.

(Un)Digitalisation of Railway Ticket Offices

In September, it was announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that in the next 3 years, nearly all of the 1007 brick-and-mortar railway ticket offices would close and would migrate to a digital ticketing system as it was reported only one in 10 tickets be sold in ticket offices.

But, whilst we can see the benefits of a fully digital ticketing service (if done right), many travellers around the UK rely on these traditional methods for assistance. Only some people have the skills to access the internet with the right support.

The public was outraged and reported their concerns to Transport Focus and London Travelwatch who were against the proposed change. The 2 watchdogs received over 750,000 responses, 99% of which were objections!

So, on the 1st of November, the plan to digitalise rail ticket offices was scrapped and the accessibility of the people has been preserved. A small victory for the disability community and it was amazing to see so many coming together to ensure rail travel is accessible to everyone.

Greater Anglia’s Train Carriage Virtual Tour

Sticking on the subject of trains, it was a greater privilege to discover that our friends over at Greater Anglia had created a train carriage virtual tour.

Greater Anglia is a train operating group based in the south of England that launched the Recite Me assistive toolbar on its website back in May of this year to support customers of all backgrounds with an inclusive ticket service.

4 months on from launching Recite Me technology, Greater Anglia continued its strive to be the most accessible train service by announcing a 3D virtual tour inside of their trains.

Their goal was simple, to support journey planning, give customers a clearer picture of what they can expect on board and reduce anxiety about travelling. It was designed for those who have a disability in mind, so they can check how accessible their journey will be.

By visiting the Greater Anglia website, you can view the virtual tour to see where the accessible toilets and spaces are located and where you can store your luggage for your long journey.

If that wasn’t enough, Greater Anglia collaborated with UK: The Virtual Tour Experts and Network Rail to produce 3D virtual tours of 15 stations which would further reassure their passengers when travelling. Stations that have a tour include the likes of London Liverpool Street, Cambridge and Norwich.

They are all available on the Greater Anglia website so check them all out here!

AQA’s Push for All Digital Exams

Our next accessibility triumph comes from the Education sector in the form of digitalised exams, which AQA, an exam governing body, will be aiming for by 2026.

In October of this year, AQA took to their digital platform and announced that reading and listening components of GCSE Polish and Italian will be going digital in 2-3 years, with large entry subjects such as GCSE English, to be partially digitally assessed by 2030. This news comes just two weeks after the government said that the Advanced British Standard, will examine using digital tests to assess pupils with new approaches.

This fantastic initiative will bring many positives to exams including a way to be more engaging with certain scenarios, closer to the digital world that the younger generation is growing up in and incredibly beneficial for the environment.

But, one of the core reasons AQA have decided to implement web learning is because it will allow exams to be more inclusive and accessible and we couldn’t agree more! There are so many companies utilising the internet for learning, allowing all students, regardless of their background, to express themselves in the way that suits them best.

We can’t wait to see where AQA decide to go with digital exams and what another brilliant accessibility milestone in 2023!

PlayStation’s Project Leonardo

Now, this was an accessibility story we were so excited to see developed over the year.

Dubbed the “access controller”, Project Leonardo was first made known to the public back in January at a global technology event, CES 2023. PlayStation President, Jim Ryan, hopped on stage to reveal Playstation 5’s newest controller designed in collaboration with Able Gamers, Special Effect and Stack Up.

You would think that at first glance, we would only receive minor details on this groundbreaking accessibility addition but, the keynote provided lots of information. Including the ability to interexchange buttons to your liking, map buttons to a way that suits you best and the opportunity to link them to other accessibility or normal controllers so you can chop and change them to suit your needs in-game.

 Pictures also accompanied the reveal, like the one above, which showed off Project Leonardo’s unique look and customisation ability. 

Fast forward to December 2023 and the controller has been released to the public. Whilst the initial reception back in January was a little underwhelming, reviews have gone on to say that the controller is a beautiful addition to all gamersbeautiful addition to all gamers and the best adaptive controller that has ever been tested.the best adaptive controller that has ever been tested. We specifically enjoyed this TikTok by Gigability showing an unboxing. Check it out here.

In the last few years, we have seen some brilliant accessibility features in the gaming industry like the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the creation of The International Game Developers Association. These inventions as well as the Playstation accessibility controller will further create a gaming industry that is accessible for all and, Recite Me can’t wait to see where it goes next.

WCAG’s Brand New* 2.2 Guidelines

Last but not least, is the release of version 2.2 of the World Content Accessibility Guidelines. Did you really think we would leave these out? 

The World Content Accessibility Guidelines is a globally accepted collection of guidelines for enhancing web accessibility (WCAG for short). They exist to guide the public on how to make their digital services and applications, accessible to everyone.

Impairments that a user might have could include:


Glaucoma, cataracts or age-induced sight degeneration.


Limited to no use of upper parts of the body such as hands and arms.


People who are partially or fully deaf.

Thinking and Understanding

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The latest improvements in WCAG 2.2 are aimed at enhancing accessibility for users with cognitive, learning, or mobility problems, as well as those with impaired vision. Which Recite Me believes is another fantastic step to creating a digital world that is inclusive for all.

Regarding what was added in WCAG 2.2, six new Level A and AA plus three Level AAA success criteria, were introduced. All information on what these entail can be found on our dedicated WCAG accessibility standards blog

A graphic of the Recite Me Scanner.

Just as a Reminder…

The Recite Me Checker makes website accessibility and compliance simple. You can create a website that is built with accessibility in mind and to WCAG industry standards by tracking your progress and keeping up to date with what needs changing to meet standards by law.

It’s great to see the guidelines are developing more and more every year as we move towards a further and greater digital world. With the 3.0 guidelines projected for a 2025 release, make sure to keep up to date with everything at Recite Me to get the details on everything digital accessibility!

In Conclusion

What a fantastic year it has been for the landscape of accessibility. It’s brilliant to see so many companies and organisations pushing for inclusion in all sectors. You will have to let us know, do you have you got a standout accessibility story for 2023? How are you going to contribute to inclusion in 2024? 

We are always looking to have discussions about inclusion so get involved in the comments on our socials.  

Top Accessibility Stories FAQs:

How much will Playstation 5’s Accessibility Controller Cost?

Project Leonardo, PlayStation’s Accessibility Controller, is currently retailing at £79.99 ($89.99 respectively).

Are the WCAG 2.2 Guidelines a Legal Requirement?

Apart from the parsing requirement, these changes do have legal implications.

What are the Benefits of Digitally Inclusive Ticketing Services?

Being digitally inclusive can provide equal access for all travellers, significantly improve revenue for the train operator and have a fantastic effect on your brand reputation. Read more about it here.

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