It has never been more important to ensure your online platforms are an accessible gateway to all your customers and employees.
There are lots of actions you can take to improve the accessibility of your website which have little to no cost associated but which will drastically improve accessibility for your disabled customers.
When developing Atlas, accessibility has been a key focus point from the start and we have been making sure we incorporate as many accessibility features as possible.
We have made accessibility one of the key features of our Atlas proposition, driven by our passion for inclusivity and experience with accessible digital solutions.
This experience dates back to ClearPeople's inception. When service providers needed to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in 2004, we worked with numerous law firms to make sure their websites were compliant. We were then delighted to work with not-for-profit organisations to ensure that their websites were AA or, in some cases, AAA compliant. We also catered for specific use cases when delivering websites for the National Autistic Society and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
More recently we delivered an engaging and accessible digital workspace that has successfully enabled CBM’s workforce to better communicate and collaborate.
In line with our Atlas vision, it is important to us that our team has a shared understanding of accessibility. Therefore, our complete team, from finance to developers, have completed the accessibility fundamentals course on Microsoft’s Learn platform.
When Atlas clients have achieved accessibility conformance, they are provided with an accessibility certificate that can be posted on their digital workspace.
A statement of accessibility and being certified demonstrates our clients’ commitment to accessibility and provides details to users with disabilities that lets them make informed decisions about your organisation.
Accessibility features inside Atlas
With Atlas you navigate your whole website using just a keyboard!
Some of your users may have difficulties with their motor skills which can make using a mouse impossible and therefore must navigate websites using a keyboard.
Within Atlas, as well as Connect and Add It, this has been fully incorporated and Atlas has enabled the ability to navigate using only the keyboard by TAB keystrokes sequence.
Atlas allows your users to change their look and feel.
'Clear', 'Dark' or 'High Contrast' modes are available in Atlas and across all Teams apps like Connect, Add It and Group Explorer.
Atlas is narrator tested.
Use Case: For the blind or those with acute sight limitations, Narrator is a vital tool which will read off the contents of any page, window, or application.
This feature provides the HR team with insight into users’ behaviour especially when it could negatively impact staff members.
Use case: People with mental health disabilities may benefit from sentiment analysis when their feedback is taken into account and gives insight on how to improve.
Microsoft 365 Accessibility features
Atlas works seamlessly with Microsoft 365 which contains numerous other accessibility features.
Below are links to each of the key features:
- Microsoft Accessibility Mobility Features
- Microsoft Accessibility Hearing Features
- Microsoft Accessibility Mental Health Features
- Microsoft Accessibility Cognitive Features
- Microsoft Accessibility Vision Features
- Microsoft Accessibility Speech Features
Some tips to make your website accessible
Many organisations choose to use block capitals for marketing or branding purposes, but for many people, this can be very problematic. Not only can block capitals be difficult to read for people who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, but for those who use screen readers can find this very tedious and frustrating as sometimes screen readers will read the text as an acronym.
instead of ‘HELLO’ the screen reader would read ‘H-E-L-L-O’. When the screen reader doesn't read it as an acronym, it will shout the text, so ‘hello’ becomes ‘HELLO!’. Either scenario can make the experience irritating and time consuming which can increase the chance of the user clicking away.
The important take away on block capitals is therefor to only use them where relevant or necessary
Have you considered that some of the colours you use together may not be easily distinguishable to many people? Approximately 300 million people world wide have colour blindness.
Colour combinations to avoid:
red & green / green & brown / green & blue / blue & grey / blue
& purple / green & grey / green & black
Fonts & Styling
Choosing the right font and styling is very important. Not only can a clear font choice make your website look clean and professional but if this is not executed correctly, many people with visual impairments or learning difficulties may find your site difficult to read.
- Opt for a clear font such as Arial / Calibri
- Try not to use a font smaller than 12pt unless necessary
- Ensure everything is aligned consistently - where possible, this should be aligned to the left.
A website full of imagery can look very visually appealing, but without the correct Alt tags applied, this can be a lot of nothing to those with visual impairments. Alt tags enable screen readers to tell the user what the image displays, without this information, the user will know an image is present but may not have any idea as to what is in the image; whether that be useful information, a photograph or product.
- Add alt tags to your images
- Describe your images in context
Video content is the most rich for online social reach, which means ensuring your video content is accessible is extremely important, and for deaf people, it is crucial. Recent studies have shown that 80% of all online users are more likely to watch a video with the sound turned off and subtitles/captions turned on.
- Add clear subtitles / captions to all video content
- Ensure the text added to videos is clear to read throughout the video, this can be done by using contrasting colours.
Some websites may include special effects to draw attention to particular areas or content. If your
organisation opts to use this, you might want to consider how this is used to ensure it doesn’t
cause issues for people with epilepsy.
Always avoid using excessive flashing.
Please sign in to leave a comment.