Your fingers manipulate keys, navigating a web page. Arrowing down, the cursor lands on a picture, and you hear, “Two people and a Baby.” Great, you think, no context. You continue to arrow down, finding what you think is text, but there’s little contrast between the background and text. Now, you skip around the page and hear “Graphic.” But no description is available to indicate what the graphic is.
This is just a slice of an example of online exclusion blind and low vision people encounter daily when accessing websites and apps. Digital platforms drive our life, but when accessibility barriers blockade your ability to fully interact with a site, it leads to frustration.
Companies are beginning to understand the importance of inclusive design. Microsoft, Amazon, Target and even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have considered accessibility. Many companies rely on automated software to test accessibility. This software scans digital platforms, notifying developers when certain aspects lack accessibility. IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker, WCAG Accessibility Audit Developer and AIinspector WCAG are just a couple automated accessibility testing checkers available.
According to Harvard Business, inherent bias is often an unintentional product in the creation and construction of digital platforms. Ultimately, digital platforms are shaped by the experiences of the creators, not necessarily consumers.
The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) provides basic protocols for creating accessible digital content. Automated checkers improve accessibility testing when developers lack specific knowledge. But nothing substitutes employing real life testers with the first-hand experience to shape the creation of inclusive platforms.
Consumers with disabilities need to be directly involved and guide the testing process. It’s the difference between a sketch and a portrait. Automated testers create an outline, a sketch of accessibility needs. But actual disabled testers fill in the sketch, informing developers of specific needs and notifying when automated systems have missed something.
Outlook Business Solutions currently provides accessibility testing services. This group can run diagnostics, analyzing how accessible your website and/or app is. Skilled technicians will test various aspects of your online/digital platforms and provide suggestions you can implement to ensure your content meets with ADA and WCAG guidelines. And Outlook Business Solution’s technicians are not only knowledgeable of accessibility testing for blind and low vision people, but they are also blind or low vision themselves and use accessible tech and software themselves. These technicians marry knowledge with lived experience and will assist in shaping a broader user experience. This will provide your company with a broader market reach.