Global Accessibility Awareness Day – 17th May 2018

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At OOVIRT we are passionate about helping business being more accessible and inclusive. Today we discuss some of Claire D’All’s (our Digital Project Manager) views and experiences of accessibility and technology.

Accessibility comes in all forms and today (Thursday 17th May) is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which focuses on the technology side. It centres around showcasing the great work that companies like Apple and  Microsoft develop every day to allow their devices to be available to everyone, regardless of their needs.

Our Digital Project Manager Claire has first-hand experience of using certain accessible technologies due to her condition which causes muscle weakness. She states, “two of the features I could not live without are the onscreen keyboard on my laptop and Assistive Touch on my iPhone to lock, silence, screenshot and press the home button”.

There are however many ways to aid different disabilities. Going mouse-less and controlling your computer solely with a keyboard, using larger fonts, using a screen reader etc. For this one article Claire has picked one of these to try out.

So, how user friendly is it to go mouse-less for an hour?

Claire tested it out and began to find it was harder than she thought. Firstly, she typed and edited a document within Microsoft Word, but had to continuously press the ALT key to display keyboard options when editing the document. This can be a lengthy process and cause distraction from the point in hand. However, due to having to use the keyboard for both creation and editing, Claire could not see a solution.

Secondly, she tested out only using the keyboard within online shops and followed the customer journey of buying items. Now, this can be difficult dependent on the webpage, as you have to mainly use the TAB button to go through the link. If a webpage has many links then it can take a while to get where you want to go, especially if there are many navigation links in the header or footer. That is why the House of Fraser website is great because it allows you to skip to the main content whereas, on Amazon you have to go through over 25 links before you get to a product!

The highlighting of links needs to be easily visable, so the customer doesn’t lose where they are. Also, when shopping online for clothes, functionality like picking a size or refining a search wasn’t available when a drop-down menu was used. This can stop valuable customers visiting your website.

All in all, when only using a keyboard it can take a while to carry out a certain task. This means if a webpage isn’t suitably developed for this functionality then traffic may be lost. When developing any device, piece of software or webpage for the public, it is always important to cater to as many accessible needs as possible. If your webpage has many links in its header, then have a ‘skip directly to the product’ option before them.

Within all aspects of OOVIRT we strive to improve accessibility and create inclusive customer experiences for our clients.  We are continuing to learn and develop our own products and services and work with leading researchers to help businesses create fully accessible experiences. Mapping out your customer journey and understanding their requirements is crucial to ensuring you provide inclusive customer experiences.

Be accessible. Be inclusive. Be OOVIRT.

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