Service Design Academy

Last month we welcomed Rory Mertes to our Team.  Rory joined us as one of many young people across Scotland looking for work experience through the Kickstart Scheme.  He’s taken up a new role of Media & Marketing Assistant and he has been a real superstar so far.  Read Rory’s story in his own words here.

Kim Anderson, SDA Consultant has been helping Rory to settle into his new role. As well as service design, Kim is passionate about accessible and inclusive design, she is continually developing her knowledge and skills in both these growing areas. She believes that all services should be inclusive and accessible and is proud that this thinking is at the heart of the design approach at the SDA.

 As our expert on accessible and inclusive design, Kim put together some top tips for Rory to help him in his work and we thought we’d share them with you.

Top tips for accessibility

Woman with laptop



A good colour contrast on text, images or graphics, makes it easier for people who have visual impairments, colour blindness as well as those viewing on small badly lit mobile screens to see the content better and easier.  You can check the contrast of any two colours using this online tool, there are different values for size of font and graphics. This tool will give you a pass or fail for all of these.

Combinations to avoid 

Green & Red; Green & Brown; Blue & Purple; Green & Blue; Light Green & Yellow; Blue & Grey; Green & Grey; Green & Black. These can be hard for people who are colour blind to see.  Helpful article on colour designing for colour blindness


ALT text 

Alternative text or ALT text should be assigned to all images on social and the website. This text gives users that use assistive technology a short description of the image where they cannot view it. Best practice for creating ALT tags



Open sans is the SDA brand font, this font is considered to be accessible and easy to read.


Larger pieces of text should be left-aligned, this makes it easier for people who are dyslexic to read and follow.


Text should only be underlined when it is a link (hyperlink), otherwise it can be confusing for users who expect it to act as an active link.


Capitals should be used sparingly and only for small pieces of text. The use of capitals can make it harder to read, for example for those with dyslexia it can make it hard to distinguish between the words. When you use Sentence Case or small case people read by the shape of the letters/combinations in words, blocks of text in capitals removes these shapes making it hard to read.

Social post specific

A handy article here:

Best practice is to include small amounts of text in images if any at all

If text is included in the image, it should be included in the body text of the post as well. Here are a few examples

example of social posts

ALT text on social:

You can add ALT text on social images.

Linkedin                    Twitter                       Instagram

Hash tags

When using hashtags use CamelCase which has capitals on each word – For example: #ServiceDesign (not #servicedesign)

This makes them easier to read and works better with assistive software.

We hope you found these useful. If you’d like to hear more about the challenge and opportunities that arise from implementing Inclusive Design, Kim will be part of an expert panel with Vanquis Bank (details and link in the Events section below).

We’re recruiting

The demand for education and training in service design just keeps on growing. Recruitment is well underway for the PDA in Service Design starting in August and we have an expanding list of clients looking for us to deliver tailor-made programmes to empower their teams. If you’re interested in working at SDA, please apply. Applications close : Friday 28th May.

Great short reads

When we fail to understand the relationships that exist between our organisation and the people we interact with it - we compromise our ability to deliver great services

3 essential relationships that help us deliver great services


How might we create a non-judgmental space where teens can press pause and seek help?


Events worth planning for

Service Design Day 2021


Designing for Inclusivity with Vanquis Bank


June 9, 2021
7:00 PM to 8:15 PM GMT+1

Join Kim Anderson, SDA Consultant to experience the challenge and opportunities that arise from implementing Inclusive Design and be part of the creative solutions that the Vanquis Bank team explores during this journey. 

Digital Leaders Week


14-18 June 2021

Take part, because those with the answers and those who are driving forward digital transformation in the UK are speaking, running workshops, sharing the very best practice and offering solutions that are practical and real.

As always, we’d love to hear if:

You have an article to share with our community of changemakers

You have an event happening and want to spread the word

You’d like to talk about any of our courses or business course funding opportunities