Digital Accessibility: The Key to Unlocking Strategic Opportunities
In project management, accessibility testing all too often seen as a bonus or a step to execute at the end of the user-acceptance testing (UAT) phase, if the time and means are there. This is a serious mistake. Around the world millions of people face challenges when using websites and applications that fail to meet accessibility norms or standards. However, building digital services that meet or exceed accessibility standards is a real way for organizations to gain more users or customers and generate more revenue.
Digital Accessibility: A critical issue and a powerful opportunity
Embracing accessibility means seizing an opportunity for growth. Globally, about 15% of the population is living with some sort of disability that can require them to use assistive technology tools to access websites, applications, or other digital services. On the European market, there are more than 100 million people in this situation. Making digital services or content accessible means opening up to a new market. Accessibility should no longer be perceived as a constraint but as what it really is: an opportunity for growth.
Moreover, many countries in Europe and North America have passed laws that require both public and private-sector organizations to ensure the accessibility of their digital services. The Accessible Canada Act mandates the accessibility of all digital content and technologies for government and federally regulated private sector organizations, such as banks, telecommunications and transportation. Similarly, France's Référentiel Général d’Amélioration de l’Accessibilité (RGAA) makes web accessibility an obligation for public organizations as well as private organizations with revenues over 250 million euros.
The RGAA is based on the international WCAG 2.1 standards (and soon, the WCAG 2.2 currently being formalized). The RGAA describes 4 fundamental principles: thus, digital content must be perceptible (the user must be able to perceive them, and this, by all the senses), usable (the elements of the user interface and navigation must be usable), understandable (the information and the use of the user interface must be understandable) and robust (the content must be created so that it can be interpreted in a reliable and evolutionary manner). While these rules may seem tedious to implement, StarDust CTG can help you and give you the benefit of its experience on the subject.
Finally, we need not remind you of the importance of offering accessible content and a solution for your brand image. In an increasingly attentive and responsible society, it is becoming difficult not to accept accessibility standards.
Becoming accessible: what's the next step?
To include accessibility in your roadmap, it is essential to prioritize it in a real and concrete way. It must no longer be the adjustment variable of your project. Those elements that you keep at the end of the backlog, "if we're far enough ahead, we can always integrate it at the end of the sprint." Take accessibility seriously, make your teams and your product owner aware of its issues, and really integrate it into your roadmap.
Another important point for the implementation of an accessibility strategy includes allocating the time and budget necessary to execute accessibility tests. While some of these tests can be performed automatically by tools, the majority require manual testing. Manual testing ensures that your application or website works according to the scenarios decided upon upstream. It is also the best way to guarantee the usability of your service.
For your next project, let StarDust CTG accompany you in your accessibility project!
To learn more about digital accessibility as well as accessibility testing, please do not hesitate to download our white paper below.