This article is part of Sabre's World Usability Day celebrations, where Seda will present to colleagues to communicate the importance and this initiative. There is a clear commonality of the need for accessibility across the globe!
Technology and the Web are ubiquitous and they rapidly advance in capabilities. As a result, people may shop for goods, order food and groceries, purchase books and music, pay their bills, or obtain higher education without having to leave their home! Yet not everyone can enjoy the benefits of the digital world. Often, accessibility is an after-thought. Given that there are many types of disabilities that do not involve a wheelchair, designing for digital accessibility is a necessity in the modern world.
What is accessibility?
Accessibility means that all individuals, regardless of their physical health or disabilities, can access these capabilities. It means that people with disabilities have access to the Web, with four key principles in place for all users: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
Proper web accessibility follows the POUR principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.
In the United States, the Department of Transporation (DOT) is actively pushing Web-based businesses for compliance. The initial mandate was that all websites must be accessible by the end of 2015. The DOT extended the deadline to June 30, 2016 for all consumer-facing travel sites to be compliant with accessibility mandates adopted in late 2013.
Specific Sabre applications, such as GetThere and SabreSonic Web, had already been putting attention on creating accessible application. Accessibility had been an internal priority, with the government ensuring industry-wide compliance.
However, in response to this mandate, Sabre's SVP for Design John Samuel took on the responsibility of assisting more applications at Sabre to become compliant. Early this year, I was appointed as the special point of contact for this initiative. After having experience deploying and understanding acessibility in a previous role at Oracle, I was pleased to continue to educate around accessibility.
Here's how we approach accessibility
Accessibility is one more way that Sabre is working to bring satisfaction to their customers. By making accessible code, we know that our applications will be future-proof. Accessibility means that these applications can adjust to new technologies, as well as provide an accessible interface to all in its current form.
"We know that accessible code will also make our applications able to adjust to new technologies as well."
On behalf of Sabre, I also work with leading organizations in the field, such as Knowbility, in conducting audits and consulting on various aspects of this initiative. In order to ensure common understanding of accessibility, I then take these industry best practices and present to various teams within the organization.
Understanding the scope of accessibility means that teams must grasp how many people struggle with disabilites. In America, about 1 in 5 have some form of disability (including age-related), with 1 in 10 suffering from a severe disability. This group has around $220 billion in discretionary spend, according to the US Department of Labor.
Scale this out globally, and there is a large demographic that requires accessible tools in their day-to-day digital lives. In fact, the UN estimates that between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged over 60 will grow by 56 percent! There's a lot that can be done to keep technology accessible for all.
Here's how to focus a product on accessibility
There are 7 fundamentals to address when considering accessible design. By following these basics, designing for accessibility can be accomplished efficiently and without much fuss. There are many opportunities at each of these junctures to engage and educate teams. Often, many teams find that this process actually improves products and makes them easier-to-use for all users.
Take this list below and see how designing a product around accessibility works for your teams!