Embedding accessibility into the DevOps process

3 min read

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1 in 4 adults in America live with a disability. Whether that disability relates to hearing, vision or comprehension, companies throughout the country are taking notice of the fact that their products and services may not be as accessible to these individuals as they should be.

Why should my company be concerned with accessibility?

Accessibility for all individuals is mandated by a variety of federal antidiscrimination laws and regulations. From a legal standpoint, your company needs to be protected from the risk of a lawsuit should your products and services come into question. From a practical standpoint, you want all of your stakeholders to access your information and feel included in your company's processes. Your company can address some accessibility issues easily, such as by providing an audio version of your website for the visually impaired. Conversely, you can also provide written transcripts of the audio portions of your website for the deaf and hard of hearing. Inclusivity takes these considerations and many others a step further in working on web design for all. Universal website design incorporates accessibility issues and includes methods to address socioeconomic gaps, culture, age and language among other potential barriers.

How can my company include accessibility in website design?

Many common content management systems include accessibility features out of the box. These features often incorporate automatic captioning and the ability to choose user- friendly templates and themes. Your DevOps team is able to direct you regarding the appropriate choices. Some website elements require additional programming for accessibility. For these elements, embedding accessibility into the DevOps process ensures that forms, tables, comment sections and any other interactive portions of your website can be navigated in a logical manner. Choose your colors carefully. Color can enhance your site, but it can also distract some individuals or be completely invisible to the color-blind. Be especially mindful of color if your site asks the user for information, such as to complete an order form. Many companies only highlight the required fields. Consider using an asterisk or some other symbol in addition to color to indicate required information.

How do I maintain accessibility on my company website?

Once you are certain your entire website is accessible, maintain that accessibility through integrated, regular testing. Just as all of your pages were tested for accessibility as they were created or as your company recognized the need, continuous, integrated testing ensures that all content added to your site meets current accessibility standards. Your company refreshes its website constantly as content, products and services, and technology change. Even something as simple as adding routine blog posts to your site changes its content. The person making the changes may or may not be capable of running an accessibility test on the content. Many organizations choose to partner with a company that can provide continuous testing services. Some organizations are simply too small to have a dedicated IT staff. Some organizations are too large to want to undertake accessibility testing on their own. Rio Global is the partner of choice for many companies. We track changes in accessibility laws and regulations and provide continuous monitoring of all of your web pages. Our proprietary Accessbot is an ISO 205010:2011 certified accessibility tool. Accessbot helps you find Section 508 and WCAG accessibility violations in your web applications. It's easy to use, well documented and available as either an on-prem or cloud solution. Contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable RioGlobal staff members today to see how we can begin to make your website compliant. Regardless of your company's approach, accessibility testing not only keeps you in compliance with the law, it makes your company more user-friendly for people of all abilities.