Sunday, October 20, 2019

Accessibility Isn't A Nice to Have. It's A Must Have.

In her book, Haben Girma, the first deafblind student to graduate Harvard Law, explains her frustration with not being able to access the cafeteria menu at her college. Like most humans, Haben loves delicious food. Fighting for this access was part of her inspiration for later pursuing her law degree.

It's surprising that large food chain like Domino's pizza, doesn't get that everyone, including those with disabilities, want access to the food they find delicious. 
Three plates with people holding pizza in their hands

The Domino's Decision

Fortunately, the  U.S. Supreme Court understands this. Their recent decision to not hear Domino's petition on whether its website is accessible to the disabled is a win for everyone who believes in inclusivity. While Domino's, and some other retailers, consider this a loss, their view is short-sighted.
  • First, it's a terrible look from a public relations perspective to take a stand against providing access to your goods to those with disabilities. 
  • Second, it's a terrible business decision to cut off the largest minority community in the world, those with disabilities. 

Accessibility on School Websites

Retailers are not the only ones being sued for not providing accessible content. The largest school system in the nation, the New York City Department of Education has an agreement with the Office of Civil Rights to ensure all websites are accessible. More and more schools should anticipate being the focus of increased scrutiny and challenges to the accessibility of their websites. Failure to do so can have devastating consequences. These include costly lawsuits as well as possibly losing millions of dollars in federal funding. 

Fortunately, most school staff are excited to discover ways to learn how to include more of their school community into communication.

Preparing for Accessibility

To prepare and respond accordingly more and more businesses and government agencies are creating digital content with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in mind. This means they provide training and support to staff to ensure they understand how to do this.  

Accessibility isn't just the right thing to do, it also makes content better for everyone. Doesn't it make sense to invest time and money into making content better and available to those with disabilities rather than investing time and money into lawsuits?

    Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Fixing One of the Biggest Accessibility Issues: Color Contrast

    Part of making content accessible includes ensuring that the contrast ratio is set to be fully accessible to anyone. Inaccessible color contrast is the top issue for digital content, but fixing it, or having it right from the start, is easy. In this article you'll learn why this is important, what the standard is for color contrast, and how to make content with accessible color contrast.

    Why this is important

    • 6% of population is color blind 
    • 2.3% of population has low vision (BCVA of less than 20/70, visual field loss, or legal blindness)
    • Everyone using a device in bright sunlight struggles with poor color contrast

    The Web Content Accessibility Guideline Standard for color contrast:

    • 4.5:1 or higher for most text 
    • 3:1 or higher for large text (18 font) or large bold text (14 point, bold)
    Screenshot of the WebAim Color Contrast Checker. It shows a foreground and background color with a 7:18:1 contrast ratio. This passes WCAG AA and AAA for normal and large text as well as graphical objects and user interface components.
    This is what it looks like when you visit WebAim’s Color Contrast Checker

    How to find out if you're meeting the standard

    What if you don't meet the standard?

    • Use the lightness slider to adjust the color so it has a contrast ratio that passes.
    • When you have a passing ratio, replace your colors with the new colors.

    Back In the classroom

    When educators use color contrast that meets accessibility standards, they help to make content that all students and their families can access. They should also teach their students to create accessible content as well.