Everyone, whether they have a disability or not, needs to have the same experience when using any intranet information or applications. Employees with a disability may use devices to help them. Your intranet needs to be compatible with these to avoid risking breaking the guidelines and any law that applies in the country where the person works.
Accessible content is also easier to adapt to use with mobile devices e.g. smartphones, tablets, and laptops with their different screen sizes. Try thinking of accessible content as being a step further on from it meeting your usable standard.
If your intranet has information or applications that are not accessible to all employees, you will be breaking the web accessibility guidelines. Legislation and codes of practice based on the latest World Wide Web, Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C Accessible content WCAG 2.0 AA) guidelines will apply in most countries. US Section 508 and UK DDA 1995 are two examples. These guidelines are at three levels, A, AA, and AAA covering the most basic problems to the most advanced problems experienced by people with a disability when using your intranet.
Many organisations find it difficult to see the benefits from publishing standards. I remove the barriers to show the benefits from each publishing standard in this series of posts. Publishing standards aim to:
- Reduce the risk of sensitive information leaks
- Improve the overall user experience
- Make people using your intranet more satisfied with it
- Improve people’s productivity
- Improve people’s quality of work
Knowing that you are helping people with disabilities to use your intranet gives three main benefits:
- People with disabilities using your intranet will have the same or similar experience to anyone else. This will encourage more frequent and extensive use because the intranet is accessible and usable and meets the needs for everyone.
- You can encourage your publishers to make their content and applications accessible to meet their legal requirements. There is the added, sometimes overlooked, benefit that accessible content also displays well in other devices such as tablets and smartphones if it meets accessibility standards.
- Your organisation complies with a legal requirement. It can also see investment made in your intranet has the benefit of being available in other devices that help with new ways of working and while mobile.
My next post on navigation will be the last in this series. I hope you have found them helpful.