With the digital world continuing to evolve, it’s key that you’re meeting accessibility standards and ensuring the information you are sharing is accessible for all. This means there needs to be a focus on the design, development, functionalities, content, and usability of your website and forms solutions.
In case you weren’t aware, today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Now in its seventh year, GAAD aims to draw attention to the necessity of making technology accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, people who don’t speak English as a first language (if at all), and who have other challenges. GAAD is intended to bring this topic to the top of mind for everyone who develops, designs, delivers, and influences digital solutions. At Shamrock, we’re committed to serving the diverse needs of our users, and to providing software, content and professional services, and custom solutions that benefit everyone.
That’s why we partner with some of the world’s leading tech companies, including Jadu, who are blazing a new trail in web experience and forms software. Jadu provides solutions that power customer’s public websites, intranets/portals and online forms, with its unique Integrations Hub enabling us to deliver standardized and high-satisfaction user experiences that all our customers benefit from, even those with unique accessibility requirements that are often not met by traditional online platforms.
In collaboration with Jadu and one of their other partners, the award-winning creative design agency Spacecraft, here are six ways that your organization can improve your approach to accessibility:
Make accessibility a consistent focus area. Instead of having to go back later and make significant (and often costly) changes, you should commit to keeping accessibility as an ongoing priority.
Stay up to date with best practices – as well as those pitfalls to avoid. One solid source of information and perspective is AccessAbilities, a new podcast by UMass-Amherst’s Assistive Technologies Center.
Think about multiple user personas, rather than just one specific demographic. Perhaps you’ve enabled your solutions for those who are visually impaired but haven’t considered people who cannot use a traditional keyboard, for example. User experiences, content, layout and other elements of your site are more universally applicable if you keep a broad set of user personas in mind.
Take advantage of free online resources. While a non-paid solution won’t be as robust as a high-cost one, there are still some advantages to using certain browser plug-ins and free services that can audit your website and provide constructive feedback on ways to make it more accessible.
Perform periodic audits of your site. Industry standards change quite frequently and it’s likely that you’ll be adding at least some new content and functionality over the next year. So don’t think of inclusivity as simply a one-and-done thing, but rather evaluate it on a regular, scheduled basis.
Don’t just consider what’s best to do now, but also plan for what’s coming next. A substantial review to WCAG (World Content Accessibility Guidelines) is coming later this year and promises to pay more attention to mobile web design accessibility. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to audit the mobile versions of your web pages now to get ahead.
While at first Global Accessibility Awareness Day might seem to be all about making it easier for users with disabilities to access and utilize technology, it’s really about optimizing experiences for EVERY user. If you keep this in mind going forward, your design and content processes will create greater inclusivity and deliver the kind of experiences that everyone enjoys and benefits from. Thank you to our partners at Jadu for their commitment to such an important topic!!!
Tyler Groepper, Vice President of Sales