Creating accessible technology can be a challenge, and the many rules and regulations surrounding accessibility could challenge our own understanding of what it actually means to be accessible in the digital environment.
These rules and regulations are largely gleaned from Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (as amended), more simply referred to as “Section 508,” and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Softrams’ rule of thumb in digital accessibility—that is, ensuring those with disabilities can access and experience technology in a manner equal to those without disabilities—has made all the difference. With this in mind, we make sure key accessibility measures are built into our solutions.
Accessibility considerations are included in our human-centered design (HCD) process conducted early in each project. Our design teams practice inclusive design so that our websites and user-facing reports and dashboards are created to be understood and used by people of all backgrounds and abilities. We engage with internal and external stakeholders using continuous discover-explore-build-evaluate (DEBE) methods to gain a true understanding of needs and pain points. We incorporate HCD findings repeatedly throughout the Agile delivery process, identifying accessibility issues early in the design life cycle and identifying appropriate metrics for improving the user experience.
We apply and test accessibility in our digital products early and often, using automation tools that help with accessibility implementation, testing, and remediation. It is as important to note that using test automation tools to assess accessibility requirements is not a fail-safe nor a guarantee of compliance even if it passes the automated accessibility check. A manual review is always completed as an additional verification. Nevertheless, new, more reliable tools can now flag for possible accessibility issues, which gives us a leg up in our mission to streamline accessibility testing. These tools can be included as part of a comprehensive accessibility testing strategy. At Softrams, our teams rely on a variety of tools to help build accessible web applications: