Accessibility Assessment - Competentum to the Rescue for ADA Compliance

Photo by Stefan Malmesjö

Fully accessible product development requires much more effort than it seems at first glance. Students with different types of disabilities use various assistive technologies. This means that you have to consider different use cases to meet all users expectations when creating accessible materials.

It all starts with an a11y analysis (a11y is the numeronym for “accessibility”). This process provides either an Accessibility Specification or an Accessibility Audit document.

A11y Specification guides the process of integrating accessibility features from the early stages through the entire development cycle of the materials.

Usually, we complete the Accessibility Audit together with the thorough QA process. You are getting a detailed list of bugs and a list of violated accessibility standards and guidelines, along with the recommendations on how to fix all of it. After the audit, you will also learn how to avoid similar mistakes in the future.  
Also, "adding accessibility" to the finished product is more laborious than implementing it from the beginning.

To sum up, both the Specification and the Audit processes establish the accessibility standards and guidelines for your product. You are getting a list of elements and features to be added, removed or modified to facilitate all types of users.

As a result, our team provides you with a definite recommendation on how to implement these changes, based on the best practices offered by open accessibility communities such as W3C.


A11Y Specification is the Best First Step

Creating an accessible product consists of several steps. To comply with standards like Section 508 and WCAG 2.0, developers have to analyze a number of factors, such as user behavior depending on types of disabilities they have, product compatibility with assistive technologies, different devices, and browsers.It is also important to know how the information will be conveyed. Students with some disabilities require the information to be presented in a certain way.

Developers without unique skills in accessibility struggle to make a product that can compete on the market right now. Not all of the mistakes can be seen during the testing phase. Together, those factors can lead to a negative customer response, as well as legal complications.

Skipping the accessibility compliance on the development stage leads to a costly recast of the product in the future. A11y Specification makes the accessibility compliance cheaper, quicker, and more efficient. That is why we recommend implementing it in your development plan from the start.



A11y Specification Structure

Each A11y Specification consists of:

  • A list of standards and guidelines for your product specifically;
  • A list of modifications that your product needs to become accessible, in case you already have an inaccessible product or some ready materials;
  • All the necessary materials (scenarios, storyboards, etc.) with accessibility in mind, in case you start developing accessible product from scratch;
  • Technical recommendations for the HTML and ARIA development, based on best practices from W3C and other open accessibility communities;
  • Detailed user expectation scenarios that involve visually impaired, auditory impaired, motor impaired and cognitively impaired users and the technologies they use, such as screen readers.



A11y Specification’s Strongest Points


With the A11y Specification, development runs faster because:

  • Developers will get an understanding of the widgets and semantic markups usage,.as well as which aria roles, states, and attributes to add and where.
  • QA testers will know how to test for all sections of the standards. They will distinguish expected results of each activity on different technologies. QA testers will also be aware of the alternative descriptions, and where they should be.
  • Using the A11y Specification, writers will find it easy to adapt their texts and create alternative versions. As an option, Competentum can use its vast experience and provide a set of alt texts for your product.
  • Designers will get all the necessary information on color usage, color contrast, navigation elements and reading order. This way it will be easy to implement it in product design.
  • Project and product managers will notice that the project takes less time and effort, as the team has the detailed instruction on the most tricky tasks. Plus, as a result of following the A11y Specification, the high level of accessibility will help the product to stand out on the market.



Why Competentum?
  • We will reduce the time you would typically spend on developing an accessible product and increase your work efficiency;

  • We will carry out the necessary analytical work to support the maximum level of accessibility of your product;

  • We are a dab hand at such accessibility standards as Section 508 (now Section 508 Refresh) and WCAG 2.0;

  • We can work with you step by step, discussing accessibility issues of each item, and come up with a solution together;

  • Our designers will offer you responsive design mockups with accessible colors and block elements for different devices;

  • Our employees include people with disabilities, who will help us describe the UX of your product for disabled users and assistive technologies they work with.



Accessibility Audit: Grooming to Perfection

Accessibility Audit is a document that includes a list of violations that make your product fail compliance with Section 508 or WCAG 2.0. Depending on your product and your needs, we can conduct an express audit or a thorough, detailed audit with explanations and recommendations for fixing the found issues.



A11y Audit’s Strongest Point

We will help you to understand how well your product meets the accessibility requirements according to the established accessibility standards. The information you will get will help you to avoid similar accessibility issues in the future and build your accessibility expertise.



A11y Audit Structure

Each A11y Specification consists of:

  • A list of violations with regards to WCAG2.0/Section 508 standards;
  • A list of disabilities that will make it difficult to use your product and explanations as to why it is so;
  • Recommendations on how to fix the found issues and increase an overall accessibility level of your product;
  • HTML and ARIA use examples as well as screenshots and video excerpts depicting the particular issues;
  • A table summarizing the current accessibility support as per Section508/WCAG2.0 standards.



Why Competentum?
  • Our experts will help to identify the current level of accessibility support for your product, giving detailed recommendations on how to increase it;

  • Our employees include people with disabilities – actual users of assistive technologies – who will test your product with such software as Jaws, NVDA, Voice Over, etc.;

  • If needed, our specialists will consult you after implementing the necessary changes to your product;

  • By providing accessibility, we will increase the number of users of your product.



Progress Led by Passion

Even when all standards are met, our team continues to look for an opportunity to improve the tools that assist and support learners as much as possible. For example, there is no formal rule about how text-to-speech software should read a table – in this case; we are testing different methods to make the information as useful as possible for listeners. We also consider each large and small detail, such as whether video sounds are compatible with the text reader, etc.

We all know that Section 508 and ADA compliance is no longer an extravagance, but a necessity, and we are proud that our team has sufficient resources to go the extra mile to tackle challenging issues like accessible e-learning. After all, what is the goal of our work, if not to make our world a better place!

Do you want your product to stand out and make a difference in the long run? Contact Competentum to get a complimentary express accessibility check and start a new chapter of your business.

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