Why You Must Ensure That Accessibility is Part of Your UX Process

Learn why it is a must to ensure that accessibility is part of your UX process from the beginning. Tips and tricks will be provided to assist you in simplifying this implementation. The potential negative impacts of attempting to address accessibility late in the process will be covered. Including costs, not only from a development standpoint, but also the extremely negative impact of a website compliance lawsuit.
Estimates state that 6% - 8% of the population is unable to navigate websites without the use of assistive devises and/or keyboard combinations. That's nearly 2 times the population of the United States! The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically establishing that equal access to state and local government' programs and services are a legal requirement. Furthering this cause, The Access Board revised, and updated, its standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Compliance with the section 508-based standards was required by January 18, 2018. Those not in compliance are at risk of litigation and the loss of funding. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. It's much easier to make accessibility part of your UX process from the beginning.
  2. The benefits of developing with accessibility in mind far out way the negatives.
  3. Building accessible websites is not an option, it's the law! 
     
Conference event time: 
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Venue: 
Birmingham (Bridges)

Transforming Your Website from Blah to Bold

Transforming the City of Sunnyvale’s archaic and failing website into a boldly designed and stable, secure and mobile-friendly system was a three-year project that successfully used a data-driven and user-focused approach. Learn how we created a compelling business case for the project, evaluated and reported on site analytics to convince staff to let go of content (e.g., 90% of our traffic was to only 20% of our pages), collected user needs through surveys and in-house data mining, and inspired design and information architecture decisions through extensive benchmarking. The new site, launched in July 2017, now reflects our City’s new brand and status as the Heart of Silicon Valley where innovation and technology abounds.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Have an agreed upon vision and strong champion;
  2. Be willing to try new approaches;
  3. Base solutions on data and stakeholder input
     
Conference event time: 
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Venue: 
Smithfield (Bridges)

Creating 508 and ADA Compliant Online Services

Over the past few years, accessibility has become a vital consideration in the realm of government innovation. While federal agencies are now required to make their websites accessible to users with disabilities, state and local governments are increasingly expected to adhere to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards. 

But creating accessible and compliant web pages is only part of the puzzle. What about all of the forms and applications that live on these pages? Posting PDF applications on municipal websites poses major challenges for disabled users, who cannot easily see the text or modify it for assistive technologies. Additionally, these applications often need to be printed and mailed in, or physically brought to the office, further violating WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Now more than ever, governments are desperately seeking compliant alternatives to these paper processes.
A few years ago, Montgomery, AL decided that they were going to make strides toward improving the accessibility of their services. In particular, the City was looking for a solution to automate Public Records Requests in a fully compliant manner. Previously, this was a paper-based form that required signatures and certain information, but often this form was submitted without required fields, launching a whole back-and-forth between a citizen and the Records Officer that added weeks of processing time. The City of Montgomery knew that this process needed to be brought online, and wanted to do so in a way that would benefit all constituents.

In searching for a government-focused form solution, Montgomery found SeamlessGov at the forefront of providing accessible, and 508 and ADA compliant solutions. The SeamlessGov platform allows governments to build fully compliant web forms from scratch and convert existing PDF forms into online services, with eSignatures, payments, attachments, and workflow. With drag-and-drop capabilities, our Form Solution empowers staff with no technical experience to quickly and easily transform cumbersome paper processes into robust digital versions, while optimizing accessibility for all users. 
In this session, we will be co-presenting with Kimberly Wright, the Webmaster in Montgomery, AL, who is working with us to bring the City’s paper forms online. Together, we will showcase the SeamlessGov-enabled online services that Montgomery provides for its constituents, and discuss the importance of developing services for citizens with accessibility in mind.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. 508/ADA compliance are becoming the new standard for governments nationwide.
  2. Most existing form processes do not adhere to the accessibility guidelines in place.
  3. SeamlessGov is partnering with governments (such as Montgomery, AL) to transform paper-based forms processes into accessible, compliant online services.
     
Conference event time: 
1 to 2:15 p.m. (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Venue: 
Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Using Chrome Developer Tools to Debug Your JavaScript

The song we developers all know and love: ""99 little bugs on the wall, 99 little bugs... take one down, fix it around... 127 little bugs on the wall!""
Debugging is a fact of life for a developer, but did anyone ever teach you how to debug your JavaScript? No? Me either, really. I took what I learned WAAAAY BACK when I first learned C++ programming (before it was standardized!) and, well, extrapolated. 
As web developers, we have a lot of debugging tools available to us now, and this session will take you through using one: Chrome DevTools.
Learn a repeatable process to debug your code using breakpoints, watches, and stepping through your code, and discover what all those different panels are about in the DevTools.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. How to access Chrome Developer Tools
  2. Tour of the features available in Chrome Developer Tools
  3. Breakpoints, watches, and stepping-through - oh my!
     
Conference event time: 
10:45 a.m. to noon (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Venue: 
Smithfield (Bridges)

Developing a Cloud Warrior

The Web Professional will soon be called Cloud Warrior. Why? Because getting up into the cloud is a tough climb but once there the benefits include full view of all services, code flexibility, cost savings, reliability, scalability, and security. Moving our government website from SharePoint 2007 to Lamp Stack WordPress website hosted on AWS came many new challenges. Our success was acknowledging those challenges immediately, agreeing as a team on the process to meet those challenges, and taking time to find the best vendor partnership to help us achieve our goal. It was an exciting and successful project and we would love to share our story.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Acknowledging challenges immediately as a group
  2. Agreeing as a team on the process to meet those challenges
  3. Taking time to find the best vendor partnership to help us achieve our goal
Conference event time: 
4:15 to 5:30 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Birmingham (Bridges)

Homemade: Making, Enduring and Embracing the Decision to build your site in house

The trials, tribulations and victories in relaunching a 20 year old county website - this talk will provide a brief overview of decision making and our strategy in launching the new larimer.org. How did we flip the switch? How to avoid common pitfalls? How to recover - semi-gracefully? I will also cover some of the tools used in the relaunch (Pantheon, Siteimprove, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, etc) that helped keep us sane and remember that one department that no one else did.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Leverage and Build upon your teams strengths
  2. Leverage Cloud services to fill gaps and improve performance
  3. Be transparent and make everyone your partner
Conference event time: 
1 to 2:15 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Sterlings 1/2/3

The Workings of Wordpress

As of February 2018, WordPress has 60% market share for all sites that use Content Management Systems, and 29% of ALL WEBSITES, period. What is WordPress, and why is it so popular? In this session, we'll dive into WordPress - what it is, why you might want to use it (or not) and how WordPress is structured. I'll show you how to create a WordPress site, how it works, and some important things to keep in mind if you want to use WordPress in production. Finally, I'll offer some tips and tricks that have improved my use of WordPress for government, and I hope helps you out too!

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Reasons to use, or not to use, WordPress
  2. How WordPress works
  3. Tips for using WordPress in production
Conference event time: 
10:45 a.m. to noon (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Transforming Static Content into Digital Self-Service

Technology is important, but software tools and platforms will never be enough to transform your content into actionable online services. The content available on many municipal websites is static information and downloadable PDFs. It meets the needs of government communications and risk management departments, but presents visitors with challenges finding information, hard-to-understand pages written using "government speak," and pages that scroll for multiple paragraphs without offering the ability to complete a transaction.

Come hear from the City of Grand Rapids and participate in a modified version of the week long Digital Services Academy that transformed their Digital Front Door for the City. This workshop will walk participants through the process of revising content and creating a digital service for one page of their site. Format will include lecture, individual and small group work with the team from the City of Grand Rapids. Come prepared with your laptop and one common request that your residents routinely ask about on your site (or a top request from your customer service/311 department). Leave with tools to improve the content on your site, without regard to your choice of website platform.  

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Digital Services for local governments means creating positive Customer Self-Service options that are easy for everyone to use.
  2. Effective self-service options and clear information from the city/county improves the overall satisfaction with local government.
  3. Creating Digital Services requires a little bit of work on the front end, but pays dividends at every level (cost savings in 311, more effective and efficient issue resolution, increased citizen engagement, improved perception of the City/County government). 
Conference event time: 
1 to 5 p.m. (Afternoon sessions)
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Venue: 
Smithfield (Bridges)

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