Embrace inclusivity with digital accessibility

Why digital accessibility is important today

In today’s world, embracing inclusivity with accessibility is not only about being humane or legally correct but also makes a lot of business sense. Recent studies have shown that businesses can tap into an additional prospective user base of up to 15% to market their products. Persons with disabilities (PWD) are responsible for 25% of all healthcare spending in the U.S.

Businesses have increasingly become aware of the requirements of people who need accessible technologies to contribute to a work environment or who can also be prospective customers.

At Barclays, accessibility is about more than just disability. It’s about helping everyone to work, bank and live their lives regardless of their age, situation, abilities, or circumstances. – Paul Smyth, Head of Digital Accessibility, Barclays

What is digital accessibility?

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) states that websites, tools, and technologies should be designed and developed so that even differently-abled people can use them. More specifically, these people should be able to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web and contribute to the Web.

Web Accessibility enables people with disabilities to participate equally on the Web. Broadly speaking, Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:

  • Auditory
  • Cognitive
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Speech
  • Visual

When an organization removes barriers by making its application accessible to its full potential, it will be an inclusive product, as millions of people with various disabilities can use it.

Mandated by Law – American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

One hears the terms “Section 508”, an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires that all Information Technology assets of the United States’ federal government be accessible by people with disabilities.

Also, ADA (American with Disabilities Act) the Title III requires that all private businesses that are open to the public be accessible to people with disabilities. There is a steady rise in the number of lawsuits filed over the years under this section, resulting from the growing awareness of the ADA Title III. Digital accessibility compliance helps organizations protect themselves against this rising trend of ADA Title III Federal lawsuits.

Foundation for accessibility

The web accessibility guidelines, technical specifications, and educational resources to help make the web accessible to people with disabilities are developed by Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). They are an integral part of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), focusing on accessibility. Over time, the WAI has developed several recommendations, some of which are:

The latest edition of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has additional coverage for mobile and non-W3C technologies (non-web documents and software).

Four principles of accessibility

The WCAG guidelines lay down the four principles which are the foundation for Web accessibility: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR for short).

Perceivable: The objective is to make content available to the senses, primarily vision, and hearing, via either the browser or through assistive technologies like screen readers, screen enlargers, etc. For the visually impaired who mainly rely on a screen reader to have the website’s content read, one needs to add an alternative text that provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages that makes the content perceivable. Another example is videos and live audio must have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcription may be enough.

In this video example: Perceivable, the video page uses “voice recognition” and is also updated to use “speech recognition.” “Voice recognition” or “speaker recognition” is a technology that identifies who the speaker is, not the words they’re saying. “Speech recognition” is about recognizing words for speech-to-text (STT) transcription, virtual assistants, and other speech user interfaces. Together they allow a person with visual impairment to enhance their experience of the web.

Operable: The objective is to enable a user to interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device. Most people will get frustrated by the inability to use a computer because of a malfunctioning mouse. Many people prefer to use only the keyboard to navigate websites. Whatever be the reason, either personal preference or circumstance like temporarily limited mobility, a permanent physical disability, or simply a broken mouse, the result is the same: Websites and apps need to be operable by a keyboard. For example, all links and controls on the web page must be accessible using the Tab key on the keyboard.

In addition, Operable principles allow users enough time to use and interact with the content. It also helps them navigate and find content. For example, if all rich, interactive features of the web page like dropdown menus, carousels, modal dialogs, etc., comply with the W3C’s WAI-ARIA 1.0 Authoring Practices recommendations, will ensure that users can easily navigate to the right content.

Understandable: The objective is to ensure that every functionality of web content is easily understandable. A user must be able to understand all navigation and other forms of interaction. To provide a user the best possible experience, every point of interaction deserves careful attention. Navigation should be consistent and predictable throughout the context of the website. Interactive elements like form controls should also be predictable and clearly labeled. For example, Instead of saying: “To postulate a conceit more irksome than being addressed in sesquipedalian syntax is adamantine,” it is better to say: “Being spoken to in unnecessarily long and complicated language is a pain.”

Despite knowing these basics, many websites lack structuring using headings, lists, and separations. Some even use overly complex language, jargon, and unexplained acronyms. It makes these websites difficult and unappealing for many people, including non-native speakers and makes them unusable for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

Robust: People get familiar and comfortable with different technologies like operating systems, browsers, and versions of browsers with usage and time. Some people like advanced features, whereas many disable them. There are early adopters of new technologies while others are slow to adapt to the rapidly-changing currents in the flow of technological advances.

A User should have the freedom to choose their technologies to access web content. This allows the user to customize the technology to meet his needs, including accessibility needs. In some cases, it might take additional time and effort to develop web content, depending on the specifications of the technologies used. However, in the long run, it will produce more reliable results and increase the chances that the content is accessible to people with disabilities.

You might have experienced the frustration of being told your technology is out of date or no longer supported. Whilst frustrating, you’ve probably found a way around the issue – but what if you couldn’t because you rely on that technology to interact with the digital world.

Beyond the four principles

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 are organized into three levels of conformance:

Level A – addresses the most basic features of web accessibility features.
Level AA – deals with the most common and biggest barriers for disabled users and is covered in most accessibility regulations globally, including the ADA.
Level AAA – the highest level of web accessibility will make the software or product accessible to the maximum number of users. However, these requirements are not entirely easy to conform to and can be focused on if your audience is primarily people with disabilities.

These levels are across all of the previously mentioned principles. Some of the key requirements include:

Google Aces Accessibility

Google’s investment in accessibility provides the company with an innovation edge in a broad array of products and services. Some of the innovations are:

  • Contrast minimums: a feature designed especially for people with low vision, and the feature also helps everyone see in bright light glare situations.
  • Auto-complete: initially designed for people with disabilities, now used widely by all users.
  • Voice control: although initially implemented for users with physical impairments is now widely adopted by millions of users for the convenience it provides
  • Artificial intelligence: originally integrated to provide visual context to users with visual impairments
  • Auto-captioning leveraging machine learning designed mainly for deaf users did not see many adopters in that target audience, as many feel it is still inadequate to meet their needs. However, advances in machine learning itself have found broader applications.

Get started with your accessibility program

Trigent’s Accessibility Assurance and Compliance Service can help you at the design stage itself with Design reviews and Gap analysis or later to assess compliance to WCAG 2.1 guidelines.

Wish to know more? Feel free to reach out to us

Responsible Testing – Human centricity in Testing

Why responsibility in testing?

Consumers demand quality and expect more from products. The DevOps culture emphasizes the need for speed and scale of releases. As CI/CD crisscrosses with quality, it is vital to engage a human element in testing to foresee potential risks and think on behalf of the customer and the end-user.

Trigent looks at testing from a multiplicity of perspectives. Our test team gets involved at all stages of the DevOps cycle, not just when the product is ready. For us, responsible testing begins early in the cycle.

Introduce the Quality factor in DevOps

A responsible testing approach goes beyond the call of pre-defined duties and facilitates end-to-end stakeholder assurance and business value creation. Processes and strategies like risk assessment, non-functional tests, and customer experiences are baked into testing. Trigent’s philosophy of Responsible Testing characterizes all that we focus on while testing for functionality, security, and performance of an application.

Risk coverage: Assessing the failure and impact early on is one of the most critical aspects of testing. We work along with our clients’ product development teams to understand what’s important to stakeholders, evaluate and anticipate risks involved early on giving our testing a sharp focus.

Collaborative Test Design: We consider the viewpoints of multiple stakeholders to get a collaborative test design in place. Asking the right questions to the right people to get their perspectives helps us in testing better.

Customer experience: Responsible Testing philosophy strongly underlines customer experience as a critical element of testing. We test for all promises that are made for each of the customer touchpoints.

Test early, test often: We take the shift-left approach early on in the DevOps cycle. More releases and shorter release times mean testing early and testing often that translates into constantly rolling out new and enhanced requirements.

Early focus on non-functional testing: We plan for the non-functional testing needs at the beginning of the application life cycle. Our teams work closely with the DevOps team’s tests for security, performance, and accessibility – as early as possible.

Leverage automation: In our Responsible Testing philosophy, we look at it as a means to get the process to work faster and better. Or to leverage tools that can give better insights into testing, and areas to focus on testing. The mantra is judicious automation.

Release readiness: We evaluate all possibilities of going to the market – checking if we are operationally ready, planning for the support team’s readiness to take on the product. We also evaluate the readiness of the product, its behavior when it is actually released, and prepare for the subsequent changes expected.

Continuous feedback: Customer reviews, feedback speaks volumes of their experience with the application. We see it as an excellent opportunity to address customer concerns in real-time and offer a better product. Adopting the shift-right approach we focus on continuously monitoring product performance and leveraging the results in improving our test focus.

Think as a client. Test as a consumer.

Responsibility in testing is an organizational trait that is nurtured into Trigent’s work culture. We foster a culture where our testers imbibe qualities such as critical thinking on behalf of the client and the customer, the ability to adapt, and the willingness to learn.

Trigent values these qualitative aspects and soft skills in a responsible tester that contribute to the overall quality of testing and the product.
Responsibility: We take responsibility for the quality of testing of the product and also the possible business outcomes.

Communication: In today’s workplace, collaborating with multiple stakeholders, teams within and outside the organization is the reality. We emphasize not just on the functional skill sets but the ability to understand people, empathize with different perspectives, and express requirements effectively across levels and functions.

Collaboration: We value the benefits of a good collaboration with BA/PO/Dev and QA and Testing – a trait critical to understand the product features, usage models, and work seamlessly with cross-functional teams.

Critical thinking: As drivers of change in technology, it is critical to developing a mindset of asking the right questions and anticipating future risks for the business. In the process, we focus on gathering relevant information from the right stakeholders to form deep insights about the business and consumer. Our Responsible Testing approach keeps the customer experience at the heart of testing.

Adaptability & learning: In the constantly changing testing landscape, being able to quickly adapt to new technologies and the willingness to learn helps us offer better products and services.

Trigent’s Responsible Testing approach is a combination of technology and human intervention that elevates the user experience and the business value. To experience our Responsible Testing approach, talk to our experts for QA & Testing solutions.

Learn more about responsible testing in our webinar and about Trigent’s software testing services.

Trigent excels in delivering Digital Transformation Services: GoodFirms

GoodFirms consists of researched companies and their reviews from genuine, authorized service-buyers across the IT industry. Furthermore, the companies are examined on crucial parameters of Quality, Reliability, and Ability and ranked based on the same. This factor helps customers to choose and hire companies by bridging the gap between the two.

They recently evaluated Trigent based on the same parameters, after which they found the firm excels in delivering IT Services, mainly:


Keeping Up with Latest Technology Through Cloud computing

Cloud computing technology has made the process of meeting the changing demands of clients and customers. The companies who are early adopters of the changing technologies always achieve cutting-edge in the market. Trigent’s cloud-first strategy is made to meet the clients’ needs by driving acceleration, customer insight, and connected experience to take businesses to the next orbit of cloud transformation. Their team exhibits the highest potential in cloud computing that improves business results across the key performance indicators (KPIs). The Trigent team is instilled with productivity, operational efficiency, and growth that increases profitability.

The team possesses years of experience and works attentively in the cloud adoption journey of their clients. The professionals curate all their knowledge to bring the best of services to the table. This way, the clients can seamlessly achieve goals and secure their place as a modern cloud based-enterprise. Their vigorous effort has placed them as the top cloud companies in Bangalore at GoodFirms website.

Propelling Business with Software Testing

Continuous efforts and innovations are essential for businesses to outpace in the competitive market. The Trigent team offers next-gen software testing services to warrant the delivery of superior quality software products that are release ready. The team uses agile – continuous integration, continuous deployment – and shift-left approaches by utilizing validated, automated tools. The team expertise covers functional, security, performance, usability, accessibility testing that extends across mobile, web, cloud, and microservices deployment.

The company caters to clients of all sizes across different industries. The clients have also sustained substantial growth by harnessing their decade-long experience and domain-knowledge. Bridging the gap between companies and customers and using agile methodology for test advisory & consulting, test automation, accessibility assurance, security testing, end to end functional testing, performance testing the company holds expertise in all. Thus, the company is dubbed as the top software testing company in Massachusetts at GoodFirms.

Optimizing Work with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been the emerging technology for many industries during the past decade. AI is defining technology by taking it to a whole new level of automation where machine learning, natural language process, and neural networks are used to deliver solutions. At Trigent, the team promises to support clients by utilizing AI and providing faster, more effective outcomes. By serving diverse industries with complete AI operating models – strategy, design, development, and execution – the firm is automating tasks. They are focused on empowering brands by adding machine capabilities to human intelligence and simplifying operations.

The AI development teams at Trigent are appropriately applying the resources to identify and govern a process that empowers and innovate business intelligence. Besides, with their help with continuous processes enhancements and AI feedback systems, many companies have been increasing productivity and revenues. Therefore, helping clients to earn profit with artificial intelligence, the firm would soon rank in the list of the artificial intelligence programming company at GoodFirms.

About GoodFirms

GoodFirms, a maverick B2B Research and Reviews Company helps in finding Cloud Computing, Testing Services, and Artificial Intelligence firms rendering the best services to its customers. Their  extensive research process ranks the companies, boosts their online reputation and helps service seekers pick the right technology partner that meets their business needs.

Web Accessibility Testing Principles – Part 3

In the first part of the blog series on `Web Accessibility Testing‘, I gave an overview of the importance of accessibility testing and its pertinence for differently enabled people. In the second part, I briefly discussed the process of implementing the same. In this part, I will delve into the principles of Accessible Design.

Given below is a list of some key principles of accessible design. Most accessibility principles can be implemented very easily and will not impact the overall “look and feel” of your web site.

Web accessibility testing principles

Principle 1: Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

1.1. Provide appropriate alternative text

All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below.If non-text content is a control or accepts user input, then it has a name that describes its purpose.

1.2. Provide alternatives for time-based media.

An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded audio-only content. Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content.

1.3. Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing information or structure.

Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. When the sequence in which content is presented affects its meaning, a correct reading sequence can be programmatically determined.

1.4. Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.If any audio on a Web page plays automatically for more than 3 seconds, either a mechanism is available to pause or stop the audio, or a mechanism is available to control audio volume independently from the overall system volume level.

Principle 2: Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.

2.1 Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.

All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user’s movement and not just the endpoints.

2.2 Provide users enough time to read and use content.

The time limit is essential and extending it would invalidate the activity.The user is warned before time expires and given at least 20 seconds to extend the time limit with a simple action, and the user is allowed to extend the time limit at least ten times.

2.3 Seizures: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.

Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds.Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period.

2.4 Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

A mechanism is available to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple Web pages.Web pages have titles that describe topic or purpose.If a Web page can be navigated sequentially and the navigation sequences affect meaning or operation, focusable components receive focus in an order that preserves meaning and operability.

Principle 3: Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

3.1 Readable: Make text content readable and understandable.

The human language of each passage or phrase in the content can be programmatically determined except for proper names, technical terms, words of indeterminate language, and words or phrases that have become part of the vernacular of the immediately surrounding text.A mechanism is available for identifying specific definitions of words or phrases used in an unusual or restricted way, including idioms and jargon.

3.2 Predictable: Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.

When any component receives focus, it does not initiate a change of context.Changing the setting of any user interface component does not automatically cause a change of context unless the user has been advised of the behavior before using the component.

3.3 Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

If an input error is automatically detected, the item that is in error is identified and the error is described to the user in text.Labels or instructions are provided when content requires user input.If an input error is automatically detected and suggestions for correction are known, then the suggestions are provided to the user, unless it would jeopardize the security or purpose of the content.

Principle 4: Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. 

4.1 Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

In content implemented using markup languages, elements have complete start and end tags, elements are nested according to their specifications, elements do not contain duplicate attributes, and any IDs are unique, except where the specifications allow these features.For all user interface components (including but not limited to: form elements, links and components generated by scripts), the name and role can be programmatically determined; states, properties, and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.

Conclusion

The web offers so many opportunities to people with disabilities that are unavailable through any other medium. It offers independence and freedom. However, if a web site is not created with web accessibility in mind, it may exclude a segment of the population that stands to gain the most from the internet. Most people do not intend to exclude people with disabilities. As organizations and designers we should be aware of and implement accessibility, this would ensure that their content can be accessed by a broader population.

Web Accessibility Test Implementation – Part 2

In the first part of the blog series on `Web Accessibility Testing‘, I gave an overview of the importance of accessibility testing and its importance for differently enabled people. In this second part, I will focus on the process of implementing Web Accessibility.

To begin with, it is important to understand the inherent meaning of the word `accessibility’ in the context of web applications, its legal obligations, and the actual process of implementation.

Sometimes web developers fear that it is more expensive and time-consuming to create accessible web sites than it is to create inaccessible ones. This fear is largely untrue. The benefits of providing access to a larger population almost always outweighs the time required by a knowledgeable developer to implement that accessibility.

A developer can learn the basics of web accessibility in just a few days, but, as with any technical skill, it often takes months to internalize the concept and the techniques.

Laws and standards

If you live in the United States, applicable laws include ADA, IDEA, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 and Section 508). Many international laws also address accessibility.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide an international set of guidelines. They are developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the Governing Body of the Web. These guidelines are the basis of most web accessibility laws in the world. Version 2.0 of these guidelines, published in December 2008, is based on four principles:

  • Perceivable: Available to the senses (vision and hearing primarily) either through the browser or through assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, screen enlargers, etc.)
  • Operable: Users can interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device.
  • Understandable: Content is clear and limits confusion and ambiguity.
  • Robust: A wide range of technologies (including old and new user agents and assistive technologies) can access the content.

Part 3 of the blog series on `Web Accessibility Testing’ will cover a detailed explanation of the above four principles.

Web Accessibility Testing

The Web has to be accessible to differently enabled people as it offers unprecedented opportunities for overcoming challenges related to communication and collaboration. The `Web Accessibility Testing’ blog series will include:

  1. An introduction to Web Accessibility Testing – Part 1
  2. Implementing Web Accessibility – Part 2
  3. Principles of Accessible Design – Part 3

In this first part, let us envisage a scenario:

One fine day your friend opens his eyes. He is not able to see and everything is dark. He assumes it must be night, fumbles for the switch, and turns on the light. However, there is no light! He rubs his eyes, yet no change. He is completely dumbstruck, wondering what happened. It is then that he realizes that he is unable to see anything and he may have lost his eyesight. The enormity of the situation has not even sunk in yet!

His mind is focusing on what has to be done, i.e. he has to attend to his daily chores, go to the office, finish up his work to meet deadlines, and have some more important meetings planned that he cannot miss. He is wondering whether there is a way out?

The probability of chances is 50-50.

As a software engineer, if you had planned ahead of time and thought of this situation for physically challenged people, then the software developed by you would make things possible for them and make their lives as wonderful as the one you lead. You could empower them to use the internet to access news, email, shopping, and entertainment, at any hour of the day or night.

This introduction should help you to understand how people with disabilities use the web, the frustrations they feel when they cannot access the web, and what you can do to make your sites more accessible.

The Web Offers Unprecedented Opportunities

The internet is one of the best things that ever happened to people with disabilities. You may not have thought about it that way, but all you have to do is think back to the days before the internet to see why this is so. For example, before the internet, how did blind people read newspapers? They mostly didn’t. Audiotapes or Braille printouts were expensive – a Braille version of the Sunday New York Times would be too bulky to be practical. At best, they could ask a family member or friend to read the newspaper to them. This method works, but it makes blind people dependent upon others.

Most newspapers now publish their content online in a format that has the potential to be read by “screen readers” used by the blind. These software programs read electronic text out loud so that blind people can use computers and access any text content through the computer. Suddenly, blind people don’t have to rely on other people to read the newspaper to them. They don’t have to wait for expensive audio tapes or expensive, bulky Braille printouts. They simply open a web browser and listen as their screen reader reads the newspaper to them, and they do it when they want to and as soon as the content is published.

Similarly, people with motor disabilities who cannot pick up a newspaper or turn its pages can access online newspapers through their computer, using certain assistive technologies that adapt the computer interface to their disabilities. Sometimes the adaptations are simple, such as having the person place a stick in the mouth and use it to type keyboard commands. In other cases, the adaptations are more sophisticated, as in the use of special keyboards or eye-tracking software that allows people to use a computer with nothing more than eye movements. People who are deaf always had the possibility of reading newspapers on their own, so it may seem that the internet does not offer the same type of emancipation that it does to those who are blind or to those with motor disabilities, but they can read online transcripts of important speeches or view multimedia content that has been fully captioned. Many people with cognitive disabilities can also benefit greatly from the structure and flexibility of web content.

People with Disabilities on the Web

Though estimates vary, most studies find that about one fifth (20%) of the population has some kind of disability. Not all of these people have disabilities that make it difficult for them to access the internet, but it is still a significant portion of the population. Businesses would be unwise to purposely exclude 20, 10, or even 5 percent of their potential customers from their web sites. For schools, universities, and government entities it would not only be unwise but in many cases, it would also break the law.

The major categories of disability types are:

 Visual – Blindness, low vision, color-blindness

Hearing – Deafness

Motor – Inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control

Cognitive – Learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information

Each of the major categories of disabilities requires certain types of adaptations in the design of web content. Most of the time, these adaptations benefit nearly everyone, not just people with disabilities. Almost everyone benefits from helpful illustrations, properly-organized content, and clear navigation. Similarly, while captions are a necessity for deaf users, they can be helpful to others, including anyone who views a video without audio.

More in the next blog: `Web Accessibility Testing – Part 2′.