Adventures in LlamaSite: Accessibility
Are you reading this with a screen reader? Have you ever struggled to read the information on a website? Do you have some other challenge that makes interacting with online media difficult? If the answer is “yes”, you are probably already completely aware of how important accessibility is online. We spent 2021 working to make LlamaSite more inclusive by significantly upgrading the level of accessibility.
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are the commonly accepted best practices for insuring website accessibility. Working with Ohio State University and Penn State University, our team of developers looked at specific improvements for our CMS. Thanks to this great partnership, we made great strides. LlamaSites and HandsOn Connect volunteer portals may not be perfect yet but are proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. Plus, we intend to continue the work!
Attending Cactusforce, I was able to talk with Asterisk Loftis about Accessibility Guidelines and what we had done in LlamaSite so far. As a Subject Matter Expert (SME), UX Designer, and UI Developer, Asterisk has a vast knowledge base around all things design. I asked Asterisk what he suggests as best practices for accessibility.
Plan for accessibility.
Like any good strategist, a good plan goes a long way toward success.
“Make sure this [accessibility] is considered in your development process, implementation, and QA. This should not be an afterthought.” — Asterisk Loftis
Leverage free tools.
This was one of the biggest helps that Asterisk gave me in our 1:1 in Phoenix. When you can “see” what, for example, a vision impaired user might “see”, it will completely change the way you look at design. The American Foundation for the Blind provides a comprehensive list of screen readers. My favorite new tool is a Chrome extension from WAVE. It’s free; it’s easy to use; and it will surface challenges you never imagined.
Reference the documentation.
The WCAG documentation is available for anyone to read and understand. The documentation continues to evolve and the working draft of WCAG 3.0 is available as well. Asterisk recommend the quick reference guide as a good direct tool for meeting guidelines. You will see in the guide why the acronym P O U R is so important!
LlamaSite’s alignment with WCAG guidelines is an ongoing process; new improvements are being released with each sprint. Primed for learning more? Be sure to check out the Trailhead’s Get Started with Website Accessibility. And, if you’re really ambitious, the Salesforce UX Designer certification is the latest and greatest!