Q: Since the pandemic has shown that we can work from home and be productive, what are some of the things that those of us who build enterprise tools can do to ensure that we are designing for everyone and strategies for stakeholders or quick wins?
A: Gaining more awareness of the challenges that people with disabilities experience when using computers or interacting with web content. Really understanding, getting that baseline understanding of common challenges is the starting point. A people first mentality is going to tell us the different ways that people are interacting with different tools and different devices and their unique struggles. We can brush these broad strokes about people with motor disabilities and say they all have these problems, people with visual disabilities have these problems, but when we start to go into that to the granular level and look at examples to say this person's particular condition means that for his needs. Say we have someone who is a business owner, uses the computer regularly, produces video and organizes his community- these are the tools that they need, and these are the ones that they find useful and here is how they can achieve that. That can help us learn so much about the ways that we are approaching product design, they are going to be informed by the needs of people with disabilities.
People also ask, “where's a good starting point for learning about accessibility?” We have lots of great resources on Level Access, if you haven't already checked those out. Lots of webinars like this one, that go deeper into other topics. But always refer people back to the W3C, that's the world web consortium, and the web content accessibility guidelines. They've done a good job over the years of making that content more accessible to a general population. If you're just starting out in your journey with digital accessibility and thinking about how you can apply those needs for people disabilities to your products and your services, Level Access is here, and we’d love to help as partners. Another great place to start is the W3C web content accessibility guidelines overview documents.
When you’re thinking about what the foundations of an accessible experience are, it's about meeting those principles, it's about meeting the spirit of perceivability. By ensuring that you have captions on videos, alt text on images, alternatives for folks who cannot see or who cannot hear, that you're considering operability. You're also considering how switch users, voice recognition users, or keyboard only users might be operating through an interface. It continues to grow from there, so those that you mentioned, are a great start.