Are you sure your business is accessible? But fear not, we can help. Both small and large companies need to comply.
In this article, we will cover the reasons for accessibility to be a focus of your business system development. And basic tasks you can perform to understand the problems better. We will also provide various methods to audit your systems for their ease of use by the disabled. It is for those looking to learn more about the disabled.
Why Should You make your site Accessible for the Disabled?
Legality: It is mandatory, by law, that all business systems and websites become accessible for the disabled in our communities. Failure to comply can result in lawsuits you’ll be powerless to defend against.
Profitability: You can earn more when you’re inclusive to all people.
Better Staff: Disabled individuals make great employees who work hard. They’ve already overcome great obstacles throughout their lives and will often be more grateful for the opportunities they get.
Ethical: All people deserve to have access to information in this society. Being blind, or deaf shouldn’t limit your ability to work, learn and play.
Fees and Lawsuits: Don’t risk the bad reputation and fees a lawsuit can bring.
Reputation: It is socially unacceptable to discriminate against our disabled family members. Failure to comply can lead to public embarrassment and loss of business.
Services Proper Programming Offers (Advertisement)
As the owner of Proper Programming, I’ve personally had to overcome a disability to find success. This leads me to have a deep personal respect and relationship with the disabled in our communities. I love to enable individuals to freely work their job and live their lives. And with the latest news and lawsuits, it’s imperative that we make all our systems completely accessible to the disabled. Contact me for a detailed explanation of why accessibility matters and how to correct it.
How to Test if Your System (or Website) is Accessible
We’ve detailed a few basic tests and experiences below that anyone can easily perform to better understand the challenges faced by your disabled customers and staff. These tests can be performed on your business systems or website and should work with any browser or operating system.
Lets quickly cover some key areas that most businesses miss in their web development process.
First, do you have any videos? Are they narrated in a way that serves people who can’t see?
Next, try turning on the screen reader of the computer you’re on. Modern computers have these installed by default. Utilizing this feature with a common browser and blindfold can show anyone the challenges our seeing impaired face.
Windows calls their accessibility tool “Narrator” and it can be found installed on all windows machines by pushing the Windows key and typing “Narrator.” Here are the official Microsoft instructions.
Mac and iPhone Users
Apple calls theirs’s “Voice Over” and both macs and iPhone can enable this feature. It can be turned on many ways, including with Siri. Please see this document on Apples Site.
Not all blind are completely blind. A variety of different types of blindness can occur, and total blindness isn’t the only thing to affect people. The color blind are a huge portion of our society. Can they view your website? Try a color-blind simulator or color-blind check. There are also a few online tools. And don’t forget to try all the different types of filters offered.
Hard of Hearing (Deaf)
Go through the system you’re testing. Do you see visual feedback accompanying all sounds you hear? Do you have any videos? Are their captions and do they explain any audible parts of the video adequately? Are the captions correct?
Loss of Mobility
Can a person with limited mobility use your system? Do you have a method to enable text to speech, to enable you to hire these individuals? There are a number of commercially available tools that can help these individuals gain employment at your organization.
What you can do?
Chances are, your website and business systems limit your disabled customers and employees from joining in on your business success. Every system needs frequent audits and testing with a focus on improving the disabled user experience. Testing for accessibility needs to be a focus of your organization and the developers in it.
Use commercial software already designed with the disabled in mind. This includes using WordPress themes and plugins that take these issues at heart. The above test methods can help you to get a start on what systems work best. A business system analyst may also be needed during this audit that is familiar with the industry and the resources available. Design all custom systems, from the beginning, with a clear focus on the disabled community. Testing the system along the way.
Hire disabled employees who understand the unique challenges that disabled people face. In addition, your staff and managers should encourage their feedback. Including their input in the design, development, and testing of all systems will give you an edge over your competitors. It’s also imperative that you make sure the software developers you hire are trained inaccessibility.
For our WordPress users that own pre-existing themes. One of the most overlooked features of WordPress is the media library. In it, there are often overlooked fields labeled alt, title, description, and caption. Filling these out properly can greatly improve the accessibility of the images on your site. These fields are used by the screen readers to help your blind users navigate your system with ease. Tweaking these, to provide the best user experience, can help greatly.
Conclusion / Short Version (tl:dr)
Failure to be inclusive in your system choices can jeopardize your business’s future. It’s time that you start doing something about this risk. Make accessibility of the disabled a priority in your decision-making process. And don’t forget to hire disabled staff, for their invaluable experience.