One web for all
It is indisputable that digitization is becoming prevalent in every industry and transforming every business function. Already a global trend pre-Covid-19, the digitization of the world as we know it has sky-rocketed due to the effects of the pandemic and its lockdown.
Crowdtech has been at the forefront of research technology since its inception. And whenever new developments take place in the digital world, we pride ourselves on embracing them in an agile manner.
What are the WCAG?
The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) were first published in 2008, but recently gained traction as the digital global revolution took hold. They are a set of documents which explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
A global set of guidelines, their purpose is to standardise web content and ensure that it is accessible to as many individuals, organisations and governments as possible. To date, different countries have adopted and enforced the guidelines to different degrees. In many areas across the EU, it is legislated that government websites conform to these guidelines, with many other countries adopting a similar approach.
How do they make the web more accessible?
The guidelines seek to mitigate any elements of a website that might be difficult for users with disabilities. Spanning disabilities including sight, hearing, physical and cognitive impairments, the guidelines address a multitude of items. Examples include making sure that text is big enough for those who are hard of sight, or that all functionality is available by keyboard for those who cannot use a mouse.
How does this relate to Crowdtech?
Crowdtech’s technology is used to deeper human understanding through a tool kit of research techniques. Naturally, this is an area that holds huge potential for inclusivity of people with disabilities, as the WCAG guidelines have brought to the fore.
Crowdtech has worked hard to develop survey tools that ensure that digital surveys are WCAG compliant. With additional programming and also additional human resource to check the output, we can safely say that our surveys hold up to the most stringent WCAG checks.
Catering for a range of disabilities
In addition to examples such as provision of larger text and keyboard navigation, our platform contains features that ensure all images have text descriptions, that any colours used are easily distinguishable, and that images are bold and clear.
In terms of hard of hearing respondents, the researcher designing the survey can make sure that every video used has subtitles and there are no sound clips without descriptions.
Addressing cognitive disabilities, the platform can ensure each screen is shown for sufficient time to allow respondents to read everything within the survey text. It is important to ensure that questions are clear and easily understandable and that there is no ambiguity in them.
Additional checks are carried out
Simply adhering to the guidelines by means of programming is important, but this on its own is not enough. At Crowdtech our business policy is to go the extra mile when it comes to client support. In our efforts to ensure full WCAG compliance for our clients, we also offer a thorough additional check on surveys once they have been programmed by our WCAG consultants.
One of the considerations of the team will be the idiosyncrasies of the language that is used. For example, phrases such as ‘as you will see in this image’ may be considered exclusive or even offensive to the hard of sight. Instructions such as ‘navigate to the answer button’ may be difficult for someone with a physical disability.
Having combed through lots of surveys with a watchful eye, the more it becomes clear how commonly used phrases and words in everyday language can exclude those with certain impairments. It is this additional checking phase that we feel sets our WCAG offering apart from others.
A more inclusive digital future
As more and more countries roll out enforcement of these guidelines, companies and other institutions will start to adopt them as common practice. The effects of this are already becoming evident: Naturally, this opens up digital surveys to a notable subset of the population, in some countries as much as 18%. But more than this, it fosters a culture of inclusion, and encourages individuals and companies to embrace differences. Such ways of thinking are vitally important to progressing diversity for all consumer segmentations.
Kirsten Den Elzenk.firstname.lastname@example.org