Is your business serving the world’s largest minority group?
What if I told you that up to 15% of the world’s population live with some sort of disability? That’s 1 billion people worldwide and the number is growing. Countries with life expectancies over 70 where people will spend an average of 8 years living with an impairment, and almost everyone on the planet is going to experience some form of disability in their lifetime, whether permanent or temporary.
That’s a lot of people.
So, are your website and digital solutions adapted to the largest minority group in the world?
Why Digital Accessibility matters.
First, let’s define digital accessibility: it is what allows a wide range of users with visual, motor, auditory, or cognitive disabilities to have easy access to all types of digital media and content.
In addition to inclusion and access to information for all, making your software accessible represents many more benefits than you might think, such as improving SEO, strengthening brand image, improving user experience, and even opening new markets.
And it isn’t only your website that can be digitally accessible, but also the tools provided for employees. As an example, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG – formerly Kronos) is committed to improving the accessibility of their products and creating a better user experience for all customers in their WFM tools.
Digital accessibility simply makes good business sense for you, your customers, and your employees.
How to improve Digital Accessibility.
There are several international standards to improve the accessibility of your software/website. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provide access to 3 levels of compliance:
- A: The level of accessibility offers global access to the information contained in the documents.
- AA: The level of accessibility is improved, optimized.
- AAA: The level of accessibility is excellent, and browsing comfort is optimal for all users of the website.
If you feel ready to read all detailed requirements to get a compliant level, the international WCAG 2.1 standards will explain how you can improve your digital accessibility.
If you are looking for something shorter but still effective, some digital accessibility key players created guidelines based on WCAG 2.1 to help people to understand easily what they could do.
WCAG (The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) created by WC3 are international standards recognized across the world however some countries such as France do have their own guidelines due to specific laws: RGAA (Référentiel Général d’amélioration de l’accessibilité) based on WCAG.
What could you easily put in place to improve your accessibility?
Getting an AAA compliance level is not a piece of cake, however there is still some changes you could easily do to improve your accessibility such as:
- Keep accent on capital letters and do not justify your text
- Make sure each picture does have a description attached (on the backend)
- Make sure that there is sufficient contrast between content and background by using a color contrast tool
- Provide an explicit link text for each button
- Provide subtitles on a video
Although these items sound easy to do, full digital accessibility might still be challenging to implement.
For instance, UKG is cooperating with The Paciello Group (TGP) experts in implementing digital accessibility. By following WCAG, they are working on different technologies to use in order to facilitate the navigation into their tools. Indeed, upgrades to Workforce Tablet permit visually impaired users to use Workforce Central and Dimensions more adequately thanks to iOS innovation, like VoiceOver and Invert Colors.
Is it mandatory to make your products accessible?
Well, it depends on where your business is located. In France, only the public sector has a legal obligation to make information accessible to everyone. The private sector is required to comply only if the company exceeds an annual turnover of €250million, after which they can be liable for fines.
In Europe, 2019 was an important milestone for accessibility when the European Commission voted for the adoption of the European Accessibility Act which obliges several services to respect accessibility standards.
In the United States, AOL (American Online) has made a commitment to make all its services accessible following successful lawsuits initiated by the National Foundation for the Blind.
With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the number of federal complaints per year between 2013 and 2019 strongly growth from 2.722 complaints to 11.053.
Overall, many companies worldwide realize the challenges of digital accessibility, from a legal perspective but also from a business one.
At Simms & Associates we are proud to be a strategic partner of UKG, a company that strives to be inclusive. In 2021, it is important that workforce management key players become aware of the challenges of digital accessibility not only because it might be mandatory in a few years but because it could make life better for everyone.
As Eve Andersson (Google Accessibility Engineering Director) said “Today’s accessibility challenges are tomorrow’s big strides”. So, are you ready to become an agent of change?
By: Mélanie Ripoll