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Alice Bartlett – What is the Business Case for Accessibility? #fronteers15

  • Motivated for the moral of accessibility.
  • But it is a good question to ask about the business case
  • What is gov.uk
    • Best place to find government services in the UK
    • One single design of the government sites
    • 9m visits/week
    • 330 departments/organization
    • saved £1.7 billion in tax money
    • tried to make gov.uk as accessible as possible
    • first: inaccessible prototype
      • Sent troubling message to users
    • beta: built for inclusion
    • aim: most easy to use and accessible website of a government that there has been
    • regular research with people w/ disabilities
    • screen reader tests
    • hiring accessibility experts
    • it is in the design principles
  • “What I mean by ‘accessibility’?”
    • Four impairments:
      • visual
      • hearing
      • ???
      • cognitive
    • Fonts are important, for example some people use the Open Dyslexic font.
    • Some improvements are not technology based: color choices, information architecture, sentence length…
    • Making the site accessible would mean supporting a variety of technologies
    • Tricky decisions where you need to make a decision that helps a set of people but is not improving the page for other users
    • Making sites accessible makes financial sense for governments.
      • PwD do get what they need anyway, for instance they might call which is much more expensive.
    • Closed system in government
    • But in private PwD can go somewhere else
  • Writing a business case for accessibility
    • This is the magic answer how making your web site accessible will make you rich. – Naïve view.
    • Good business case takes a problem that you have
    • Come up to solutions to that problems
    • Which solution is the best (will be accessibility because that’s what the talk is about ;-)
    • We should solve X
    • Anecdotal evidence: SEO, maintenance, revenue from PwD, older people
    • Search for the most cost effective way to solve the problem. Is that accessibility?
    • A good business case should find the most effective solution.
    • Only real business case is litigation.
    • Duty to make reasonable adjustments in UK law
    • But most people don’t care about the UK
    • In the Netherlands: AWGB (Algemene Wet Gelijke Behandeling) – Equal treatment act.
    • Public sector: Webrichtlijnen – quite advanced
    • No case has it ever made to court in the Netherlands
    • In the UK usually settling outside of court to avoid embarrassment
    • When in the US things are going to court, there are fines and embarrassment
    • If low profile company the chances to get sued is quite low vs. the cost of making your site accessible
    • Maybe no business case for accessibility for small companies
    • But…
  • You don’t need a business case.
    • If you build a site from scratch, why not just do it. It is not too hard. And, as Scott said, access is our job.
    • Sneak it in, if you have to.
    • 4 levels to how much you care or are able to care about accessibility
      1. Don’t screw up HTML
        • A lot comes with accessibility built in
        • Gets you 90% of the way – that’s better than 85% out there.
        • Headings are shown as an outline
        • PwD will often search for those headings or landmarks
          - There is quite a patchy understanding of landmarks by users, main is well known at the moment
        • Links need to be descriptive, or you just end up with a list of “click here“s.
      2. Check with tools:
        • WAVE or tenon helps you
        • WAVE: low effort, shows warnings and alerts inline
        • Tenon is an API, you POST to it, get JSON back. Integrates into the built process.
        • Example: Fronteers Website – 1 Error: A

          element that is empty (only inputs in there)

        • Tenon allows you to fix those and read about the reasoning and severity of the error
      3. Test with assistive technology
        • You’ll never get as good with a screen reader as a permanent screen reader user
        • But very interesting insights
        • Especially with interactive components
        • You want to test if your browser understands what you want to tell him.
        • Looks like JAWS won’t be the most prominent screen reader in the near future.
        • Browser and accessibility APIs are buggy
        • dd:first-letter {text-transform: uppercase;} caused Chrome+VO to read the first character another time.
        • In chrome there is an accessibility tab in about:flag
        • File bugs!!
        • So a visual style beaks the site for non-visual users
        • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      4. Ask an expert
        • Someone who is good at accessibility testing is very important – at GDS: Léonie Watson
    • For most of those you don’t need a business case.
    • „When accessibility becomes part of what you do, of course it’s free“
    • Discussion: http://designpatterns.hackpad.com
  • Summary:
    • Good business cases for accessibility are hard to write.

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