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)

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)

UX IRL

Scenario 1: You're putting out an RFP for a new website and one of your top goals is to improve the experience. How do you evaluate potential bidders? How do you know that users will get a new and improved experience? 
Scenario 2: You have an existing site and want to improve the experience. Where do you even start? What do you measure? 
We've got you covered. We'll explain cover how to separate the buzzwords from the definable metrics within User Experience. 

Three Key Takeaways

  1. How to word a proposal and what to include during an interview to weed out those who are unqualified but know some of the lingo.
  2. What to do when you have a site already, but a redesign is years into the future. What can you do now to get a baseline measure and improve? 
  3. Tools and tips for quantifying the user experience AND actually improving it.

 

Conference event time: 
10:45 a.m. to noon (Sessions)
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Venue: 
Sterlings 1/2/3

Accessibility on a Budget

Developing a task-based accessibility audit workflow instead of a large, fixed-price RFP for increased control and reduced cost. More importantly, the presentation will show how to use this approach to manage accessibility as a process rather than a destination.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. How to break out the task of identifying the "substantial" part of a large legacy website for accessibility auditing.
  2. Breaking out the accessibility audit targeting your CMS vendor and encouraging compliance at their cost.
  3. Focusing the staff accessibility training to just the website contributions involved.
Conference event time: 
4:15 to 5:30 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Making Accessible PDFs

This session focuses on the accessibility guidelines you should use when creating a new document with an authoring program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. After the PDF is generated, we will walk through the accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat DC and conclude with some tests you can perform to verify if the PDF is accessible. This session is aimed at anyone that makes documents that will be posted online.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Principles to apply in your original document
  2. How to create a tagged PDF
  3. Testing the document to verify it is accessible
Conference event time: 
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Sterlings 1/2/3

Creating Accessible and Responsive Forms

Forms are a necessary part of websites because they are used to gather information from constituents. Whether the forms are used for contacting staff, for feedback on issues or for the delivery of services it is important to design them to be accessible for all audiences. Since a great majority of our constituents now visit our websites via a mobile device it is also important to design them to be responsive. This session will discuss best practices for form accessibility as well as responsiveness. Several production forms will be demoed as examples. The form tool used for the demo will be Formstack however other tools can also be used.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Best practices for form accessibility
  2. Best practices for form responsiveness
  3. Demos of several production forms and techniques for creating forms
Conference event time: 
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Birmingham (Bridges)

Making WCAG 2.0 AA Compliance a Web Strategy: Design Planning, Audit & Implementation

On January 18, 2017, the Access Board published a final rule that jointly updates requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act. The purpose of this session is to help government agencies prepare, plan, execute and validate their digital access inclusion for individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on the web content accessibility, designing for accessibility, and validating for WCAG 2.0 compliance checklist. Attendees will learn the key set of rules that all webmasters and web program managers must be aware of for compliance, a recommended approach to meeting and validating the WCAG 2.0 AA requirements related to usability and visual aesthetics, and get acquainted with third-party tools and SaaS solutions that can help audit and validate compliance.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Clear understanding of legal compliance requirements vs. WCAG 2.0 AA Guidelines and Principles for Federal Agencies' public facing websites and digital content
  2. Benefits of making Accessibility and Inclusion as Part of User Experience and Digital Strategy in a time of Browser-less Experience, Conversational Bots, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
  3. Short-term (6-12 month) and Long-term (18-24 month strategy) Strategy for WCAG 2.0 AA Full Compliance 
Conference event time: 
1 to 2:15 p.m. (Sessions)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Venue: 
Smithfield (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

Digital Accessibility for Developers

Accessibility issues on the website tend to fall into two categories: issues for content contributors and issues for developers. Developers work with the HTML coding to create page templates, tools, and applications. Developers are bringing to life the ideas for your digital presence. This course examines the ways developers influence accessibility.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Understand roles and responsibilities related to your digital presence
  2. Common issues related to keyboard and mouse functionality
  3. Examine examples of forms, plugins, and robust coding practices
Conference event time: 
1 to 5 p.m. (Afternoon sessions)
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Venue: 
Ft. Pitt (Bridges)

Open Source Tools for Evaluating and Inspecting Web Accessibility

The workshop will provide a hands-on experience on how to use open source tools to evaluate and understand the accessibility of entire organizations to individual pages based on the requirements of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and AA requirements. Participants will be encouraged to bring and use their own devices during the workshop to analyze websites of their choice. The workshop will use their results as a discussion point of how the tools provide information on accessibility and discuss the limits of automated testing. The suite of tools can be used to evaluate and inspect entire organizations (e.g. collections of websites), websites (e.g. pages in the same domain) and individual web pages. The open source tools use the open source OpenAjax evaluation library. The workshop will explore the reporting structure, especially how to interpret evaluation results that require manual checking to determine if the accessibility requirement applies and if the accessibility requirement has been met. The workshop will also discuss how the OpenAjax evaluation library is based on the W3C ARIA Authoring Practices techniques to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA requirements. The ARIA Authoring Practices provide design information to meet WCAG 2.0 requirements. Many other automated evaluation tools are based primarily on the WCAG 2.0 failure techniques. The failure techniques provide a limited view of WCAG 2.0 requirements and a limited understanding of how web standards can be used to create highly accessible and usable websites for people with disabilities. The workshop will also be a listening point for participants to provide valuable feedback to improve the design of the tools and to guide development of new features.  

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Understand the accessibility requirements of the revised Section 508 requirements
  2. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of automated testing of web accessibility
  3. Learn about freely available open source tools to audit and inspect web pages 
Conference event time: 
8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Morning sessions)
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Venue: 
Birmingham (Bridges)

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