You’re (Probably) Doing Digital Accessibility Wrong

You’re (Probably) Doing Digital Accessibility Wrong

Thirty years after the historic passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark legislation that transformed the US’s workplaces and common spaces for the better, so much of our lives have moved out of the physical world and into the digital one. The urgency of equality — and the need to ensure that web design and development consider digital accessibility and the user experience of those with disabilities — is at an all-time high.

Nearly one in five Americans has some form of disability. Globally, the number is higher than 1 billion. Although equal access to community spaces — both in the physical and virtual world — is a clear human right, for millions of Americans, the web is broken. It’s a place packed with frustrating stumbling blocks and disorienting design, and it’s in dire need of a UX overhaul.

This is evidenced in the WebAIM Million study conducted last year. The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University conducted an evaluation of the top million webpages focusing on the automatically detectable issues. Not surprisingly, the results are dire. The study found an average of nearly 60 accessibility errors on each of the site’s homepages, which was virtually the same amount of errors detected when the same evaluations were run, six months prior. The WebAIM Alexa 100 study didn’t fare much better. Across the top 100 homepages of the most trafficked websites, the study found an average of approximately 56 errors per page (including highly pervasive color contrast errors).

This all amounts to an incredible number of digital access barriers. It’s no wonder plaintiffs are filing lawsuits in record numbers. Over the past two years, alone, there have been nearly 5,000 ADA Title III website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

No matter where you are in your accessibility journey, here are some common mistakes to avoid, as well as some of the often-overlooked accessibility considerations that will have a meaningful impact for your site visitors.


Test With People

If you’re creating inclusive websites, it’s crucial that you expand your user pool of testers to include individuals with disabilities or, at a minimum, subject matter experts versed in the many nuances of navigating the digital world with assistive technologies (AT), such as screen readers.

At best, automated testing tools can only detect about one third of the potential issues

One of the most common misperceptions about accessibility is that, if you use an automated testing tool, you can find out everything that is wrong with your site.

At best, automated testing tools can only detect about one third of the potential issues. Even in the case of the WebAIM Million study, the number of issues uncovered only consisted of automatically detectable issues. It’s safe to assume, the number of issues that actually exist on the web pages evaluated in the study are largely understated. Accessibility testing might seem simple on the surface, but usability testing leveraging assistive technologies is complex and multi-faceted. Motor, visual, cognitive and auditory impairments can all impact user experience, as can the specific AT and browser combination being used. To gain a true understanding of how usable your site is with these tools, you can’t just rely on automated testing.


If All You Plan To Do Is Implement A Toolbar, Think Again

Doing something is certainly better than doing nothing, and we should all applaud anyone that is taking steps to improve the accessibility of their digital assets. But if you think that adding a free accessibility toolbar, alone, is doing enough, you should take note. It’s not.

Toolbar providers that don’t test your site with people or couple their offering with custom, human-informed fixes that correct accessibility violations, do next to nothing to reduce compliance risk. Despite many of the claims they tend to make about their AI and ML technologies achieving full compliance by simply embedding a single code into your website, most overlay solutions do not have a material impact in improving website accessibility compliance. Unfortunately, fully autonomous website accessibility isn’t a thing. Be wary of those making bold, sweeping claims to the contrary. Outsourced accessibility providers will continue to fall short without a broader, more holistic approach.

fully autonomous website accessibility isn’t a thing

Not all toolbar (or “overlay”) solutions are alike, though. A trusted provider will be backed by an expansive customer base of enterprise-grade clients who have vetted the integrity and, perhaps most importantly, the security of the service. At the end of the day, unless they are having a meaningful impact in improving conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), they aren’t moving the needle toward compliance, which is very much focused on adhering to these internationally recognized standards and, more importantly, removing digital access barriers for individuals with disabilities.


Stay Current With The Latest Standards

Speaking of WCAG, for the last several years, the talk of the town, when it came to website accessibility, has been WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria. WCAG 2.1 (which incorporates 2.0) was actually released back in 2018. Since the latter half of 2019, plaintiffs and claimants have begun to reference WCAG 2.1 AA. When benchmarking, be sure to reference WCAG 2.1, which includes 12 new level AA testable success criteria, which are heavily focused on cognitive disabilities and requirements for mobile/responsive design.

If you really want to stay ahead of the curve, keep pace with the W3C’s progress on evolving the standards. Check out WCAG 2.2, which will be here before you know it.


Think Different For Those Who Might Think (And Navigate) Differently

A lot of the discussion around digital accessibility tends to lean toward vision and hearing disabilities. The vast majority of lawsuits filed are from blind individuals relying on screen reader compatibility or hearing impaired individuals requiring video captioning. But, the size of these demographics pales in comparison to the number of individuals impacted by cognitive and ambulatory disabilities, the two most prevalent disabilities in the United States.

There are several accommodations designers and developers can take to improve usability for individuals with cognitive and learning disabilities. Reading level aligns with the higher level, AAA, WCAG conformance, but making sure your content isn’t written for a rocket scientist to understand is always a good idea. Something below a lower secondary education level is optimal for lower-literacy users. Breaking up, or chunking, site content into digestible snippets is also proven to improve retention and understanding, especially for those site visitors with shorter attention spans or individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder. Providing options to change fonts and letter and paragraph spacing has proven to offer a similar benefit.

the more accessible your website, the better your search results

For individuals with mobility impairments, optimizing for keyboard navigation has many benefits and it’s easy and fun to test. Harnessing the power of the tab key and putting yourself in the shoes of a user who relies solely on the keyboard to engage and interact with your site should become an essential tool in your accessibility testing arsenal. You’ll quickly understand and become fanatic about keyboard focus indicators, skip navigation links, and if you’ve implemented infinite scroll, you might just pull your hair out. Your users will likely be better off with easy-to-follow triggers, like a “Load more results…” button.

There are a considerable number of additional factors that must be taken into account when striving to ensure a fully accessible website experience. Video transcription and captioning, audio description, color selection, layout, structure, animation and effects are just a few examples. When you start examining your website through the lens of accessibility, you’ll quickly realize that the potential pitfalls are many, but the potential to transform your site — and expand your access as a result — is significant.

Simply put, designing for accessibility is good business. Accessibility is directly proportional to SEO friendliness; the more accessible your website, the better your search results and the wider the net cast around your potential audience. When usability is good, clean and simple, reach and impact are also increased. And no one can argue with the cost-benefit analysis of that.


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How Animated Videos Assist in Brand Recognition

How Animated Videos Assist in Brand Recognition

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Best Way to Earn Money Online in 2020 | Digital Marketing

Best Way to Earn Money Online in 2020 | Digital Marketing

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How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2020

How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2020

How digital marketing will change in 2020 and what you need to do to strive and succeed in 2020. So, let’s talk about digital marketing. Digital Marketing is going to change in 2020. What’s been working for the last few years is not anymore. These digital marketing tips will ensure you’re on top of your game next year!

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Super Aula - Planejamento de Marketing Digital 2020

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Getting Retail Through COVID-19 - Digital Doughnut

Getting Retail Through COVID-19 – Digital Doughnut

innovative in-store solutions in one of our recent blog posts, it’s only fair to take into account the recent developments and focus on retail tech solutions that can be used in times like these. 

1. Scan & Go. 

The scale of using barcodes & QR codes in retail is astonishing. Nowadays, scanning these codes can give your employees and customers a lot of benefits. To start with, it makes it easier to track the products and manage them more effectively throughout the whole supply chain. From the customer perspective, however, the codes can be a rich source of information about products, and make shopping a lot faster and more secure with the Scan & Go option.

What are the benefits of Scan & Go during COVID-19 quarantine? 

It’s no secret that Scan & Go has already been implemented by well-known retailers like Walmart or Carrefour – and they can come in useful these days in particular. Interestingly, NYC based Fairway Market recently saw an increase of app downloads by 300%, with over 20% of transactions being finalised with the Scan & Go option. 

Given the current situation, Scan & Go can be beneficial for both customers and store staff – especially when it comes to improving their safety. It makes it possible to scan products that are about to be purchased, and pay for them even within the mobile app, allowing the customers to reduce human contact and avoid standing in lines. 

There are quite a few providers of such a solution on the market. Few of the retailers created it internally, while others are using providers to develop it or licensing a “white label” solution. In fact, using a ready solution via SDK into the retailers’ mobile app makes implementing Scan & Go in existing apps and connecting them to various backend systems much easier and faster. 

A key success factor for implementing Scan & Go is to get it adopted by customers as fast as possible. The most important factor here is the UI – the tool should be very intuitive and simple to use, require very little engagement – a small number of clicks should be done before purchase, and no unnecessary details should be asked. 

We like FutureProof Retail’s solution a lot because it has the best and simplest UI and hence gets very high adoption. Actually, to ensure the simplicity of the UI, FPR used Grandma Test – they tested each feature with a group of real grandmas to make sure it is easy for them to use before the feature is released. 

Apart from that, their Scan N Go has many features that add value both for the shoppers and the retailers. In-store navigation, marketing automation of in-store promotions, or shopping suggestions (i.e. shop by recipe or shop by non-gluten, etc.) are just a few examples. Since one of the concerns of retailers in using Scan N Go is shrinkage and theft, FPR also offers comprehensive anti-theft & anti-fraud protection through dedicated technology and well-tested methodology. 

And the best part? They now make it possible for grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail establishments that operate in a national state of emergency to try their express checkout app free of charge. The deployment itself shouldn’t take longer than just a few days, while retailers can add their own branding to the app and manage their operations more efficiently, for example by viewing all transactions in real-time.

2. Click and collect.  

The option to “Click and collect” has been offered by increasingly more stores. Interestingly, it’s often referred to as the most valuable aspect of the shopping experience (by more than four in ten consumers, to be exact). 

The idea is to order products online (mostly via a mobile app), and collect them by the entrance of the stores, from special “parcel locker” nearby, or other supporting locations, such as courier company branches. The added value is quite obvious – saving time on doing the actual shopping and standing in lines. The customers can simply use their mobile app, even pay with their smartphone and collect loyalty points once they’re at it. 

Click & collect as a popular shopping option

There’s no doubt that these days, click & collect can make shopping easier for everyone involved. Although retailers have to take care of a few things first in order to implement click & collect in their stores

  • Human resources to handle the orders, 

  • Clear and intuitive mobile software that will be able to handle the whole new system, 

  • As well as dedicated places to store the parcels that are about to be collected (like lockers, for example). 

Amazon Hub Locker, as well as Walmart’s Pickup Towers, are perfect examples. Their customers are choosing the exact locations that they want their products to be delivered to from the map, and in many cases, they can collect it even the same day – without human contact. Such solutions can also be implemented with a little help from businesses that already offer robotised parcel machines and pickup points for online orders, as Retail Robotics does.

3. Augmented Reality.  

Augmented reality is no longer about simply putting 3D images and frames on your smartphone’s camera view. It’s already a whole market of multiple (and more or less useful) solutions that you can take advantage of. In fact, according to “The robot in the room” report issued by NRF, the market awareness of AR solutions slightly exceeds 20%, whereas 86% of people who had a chance to use it are willing to continue doing so. 

How to leverage AR, then? You might want to pair up with the solution providers – such as Augment (AR for 3D models of furniture and devices), or Modiface (AR make-up and face analysis). There are plenty of more examples like these – and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that increasingly more retailers decide to cooperate with them. Especially since implementing AR comes down to making good use of the SDK developed by the above-mentioned solution providers. 

Use cases of AR in retail 

Making good use of AR is definitely more visible in retail than in other industries – yet, their full potential is still far from being exploited. So far, there are a few common use cases of AR in retail that revolve around mobile or in-store solutions. 

Thanks to mobile devices being increasingly more powerful, they make it possible to create a 3D model of a product and “apply” this model to the external environment. In many cases, this might be enough to “get customers to your door”, without them actually going anywhere. 

IKEA can serve as a good example here since its mobile app enables the users to place any piece of furniture in their own home without the need to purchase it first. Lego, on the other hand, gives the users a chance to see how the “constructions” from Lego blocks will look like when finished. Other interesting use cases are provided by Converse, Wannakicks, or Lacoste since they all make it possible to try their shoes on without going to the store. Here’s exactly how Wannakicks looks like in action.

Byond VR from Israel, on the other hand, offers a suite of solutions for retailers and brands, including: 

  • a 3D digital transformation platform,

  • Digital fashion showrooms that create an interactive online story and showcase new collections for sell-in,

  • Planning assortment or performing in-house production reviews, 

  • Stores that offer Visual Merchandising & 3D Store Simulations, 

  • Or virtual tour around the store, allowing to dynamically manage the content.

Another approach is offered by ARPalus for retailers and brands to use AR to test and implement merchandising displays in-store. Essentially, AR helps retailers to increase conversions, improve the efficiency of operations, and let consumers immerse in their experiences without leaving homes – which is exactly what’s needed in times of coronavirus pandemics. It should come as no surprise, then, that 63% of retailers have already been implementing AR solutions, or planning to do so. 

4. Visual search.

Visual search is all about taking advantage of real-world images (such as screenshots, pictures, and photos) to perform online searches with a little help from AI. Since machines are now capable of reading the visual content, understanding it, and finding the related results on the web – why not use this option in retail? 

Even though the main players that are interested in improving visual search are Pinterest, Amazon, and Google, there are plenty of smaller entities that also work on it. In fact, Slyce or Syte, for example, already specialise in making visual search possible for retailers.  

Why is it the right time to leverage visual search in retail, though? According to Gartner, early adopters that will redesign their websites to support visual and voice search, are expected to increase their digital commerce revenue by even 30%. What’s more, visual search can somehow replace the idea of shopping in-store, as customers can look for products they see and like without even going window-shopping. In tough times, such replacement might be all they need.  

Visual search in practice

At the moment, the most common use of visual search in retail is the ability to find a product from a photo in a specific store (or stores). The goal is mainly to boost sales by directing traffic to product pages that are searched by customers. This can work wonders, especially for fashion retailers and brands. 

In many cases, visual search can simply shorten the time between the actual search and purchase. For younger generations, it’s a popular way of looking for products – in fact, 62% of millennials already prefer visual search over any other new technology.

Nonetheless, visual search can also be used for increasing conversion. Forever 21, for instance, claims to have increased its AOV by 20% thanks to visual search. It’s not the only example, as visual search has also been used by IKEA, Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger or eBay.

5. Field management solutions.   

In times of crisis, it’s important to keep things under control and make fast, yet informed decisions. This gets much easier with tech solutions that can not only streamline your operations but also manage retail stores faster and more effectively.  

Interestingly, some retailers already implemented internal management solutions a while ago – and they definitely don’t regret that decision now, given the difficult situation caused by COVID-19. Take Żabka Polska and its frappka app as an example. It was initially created to make the store management easier for Żabka’s over 4000 franchisees, which comes in useful especially in times like these. Nowadays, Żabka can easily communicate with its franchisees and help thousands of stores plan & track their product deliveries, just to name a few benefits.  

Speaking of internal management during tough times like COVID-19 quarantine, it’s also worth mentioning Eyedo and its field operations management & optimisation tool.  In case any problems arise, Eyedo makes it possible to address and tackle them immediately – by informing everyone involved, setting off alarms and reminders, and allowing to report on task progression to finally resolve them. 

Apart from that, Eyedo’s solution also integrates technologies such as Computer Vision to ensure field operations are completed well. It can verify automatically if the Planograms complies with the requirements, if the promotion in-store is implemented properly according to the “picture of success”, and much more. It uses Geofencing to ensure field operations are done at the right place and time, and that the routes and actions are optimised for routing, headcount, and more.

Tough times like COVID-19 quarantine require smart measures

The economic downturn is inevitable – but it doesn’t mean that retailers can afford to sit back and do nothing. Thanks to modern technology, it’s still possible to grow your business, even during difficult times like these. In fact, all retail tech solutions that revolve around mobility can boost sales during COVID-19 quarantine. 

These days, the goal should be to enable online shopping and reduce “physical” contact as much as possible, even for (or especially for) brick-and-mortar stores. The faster the retailers implement and improve solutions like click & collect, scan & go, AR and visual search – the less they will be affected in times of crisis. 

Here’s what our experts think about it:  

The current COVID-19 crisis presents a great opportunity for retailers that are able to adapt fast. Consumer behaviour during the crisis is definitely changing: To start with, the adoption of mobile apps and tools such as smart payments and Scan N Go is growing. At the same time, however, Grocery and Drugstore retailers phase 400% to 1000% growth in traffic and orders on their websites and digital assets. Consumers that never shopped online are doing it for the first time – and once they cross this barrier and get their purchase delivered home, they may get used to it. Pretty soon, they might want to buy other goods online, not just food. Is your retail chain ready for them to do so?

The change in consumer behaviour is here to stay, and it’s bound to impact every retailer. Now is the right time to implement tech & logistic solutions that will help to adapt to these changes and become the winners when this crisis is over, which will hopefully be soon.” – Nir Manor, Retail & FMCG expert, Future Mind’s advisor

A crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic was impossible to predict, but it doesn’t change the fact that companies have to act accordingly. In “normal” circumstances it would’ve been more than acceptable to implement changes gradually and with time – but nowadays, it’s necessary to adapt as soon as possible. In fact, doing so can be one of the best ways to actually maintain, and even save your business. In difficult moments like these, it’s a good practice to use well-tested solutions – both in retail, as well as other industries. No matter if these solutions have to do with facilitating internal processes or making things easier for customers – they can easily be tailored to your business and its current needs. 

It’s important to remember, though, that making tech solutions work is all about “supplying” them with relevant data. In such cases, technologies like Python Unlinkor Node.js are worth taking advantage of to create integrations with already existing POS or ERP systems – especially since not all of them have API supporting the flow of data in real-time. – Tomasz Woźniak, CEO, Future Mind

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Digital Marketing Course Telugu - Digital Marketing Tutorial for Beginners 2020

Digital Marketing Course Telugu – Digital Marketing Tutorial for Beginners 2020

Digital Marketing Course Telugu – Digital Marketing Tutorial for Beginners 2020

In this digital marketing tutorial in Telugu, you will learn about the basics of digital marketing, what is digital marketing, digital marketing strategies.

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Learn Complete Digital Marketing 2020 Advanced

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Future of Digital Marketing in India 2020 | Earning in Crores? | Career | Salary | Jobs | Course

Future of Digital Marketing in India 2020 | Earning in Crores? | Career | Salary | Jobs | Course

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2020 Digital Marketing Trends for Nonprofits

2020 Digital Marketing Trends for Nonprofits

We’re giving you three 2020 digital marketing trends for your nonprofit!
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