Traction Marketing Goes The Extra Mile On Accessibility
NewView’s mission is centered around creating independence and empowering Oklahomans who are blind or have low vision. That includes creating an accessible environment in which they can work, receive services, or ask for help. One of NewView’s most prominent first points of contact with potential clients, employees, and parents of clients is our website.
It is vital that NewView’s website follows all Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, and our existing content management system was posing a threat to our own ability to quickly address accessibility issues. The imminent need for a complete website overhaul became apparent in late 2021, and by early 2022, NewView’s VP of Marketing and Communications, Ashley Howard, selected Traction Marketing to take on the project.
When deciding what agency to utilize for the project, achieving accessibility was the top priority. The developer needed to be willing to work directly with our READable department and go through multiple rounds of revisions to achieve digital accessibility. Tyler Smith and his team at Traction Marketing were not only willing, but excited, to work alongside our READable team to change the way our website looked and functioned, for the better.
Over a 10-month period, the site went through five major stages of development and remediation. Our teams worked together seamlessly, and the Traction team was responsive and quick to implement any changes necessary.
The first step in developing the new website was to map out the hierarchy of content. The NewView marketing team worked alongside Traction’s team to develop a site map that would categorize content by audience type. Through this process, careful consideration was given to the end users experience and ability to navigate the site with ease.
Once the hierarchy of content had been identified, the NewView marketing team engaged in keyword research to ensure that all content being developed would have high SEO value. Search engine optimization was important to our team as it is one way, we can support those in need who are seeking the services NewView provides. Once the SEO research was complete, the NewView marketing team set out to develop content for the site.
Upon completion of the content, the NewView marketing team then set out to develop an asset library to provide the Traction Marketing team with photos and videos that could be embedded into the site design.
With all content developed, the Traction team began the beginning stages of design and development. The new website would be built on the WordPress content management system (CMS) using Kadence, a suite of responsive web design tools. WordPress is a widely supported CMS, and would ensure NewView’s ability to maintain the site for years to come. The Traction team developed the site in stages, and collaborated with NewView’s READable accessibility team at every stage.
Stage 1 – Homepage and Menu Development
The menu of the NewView website is unique. With six primary audiences, there was a need to create mini menu structures that would support each audience independently. Traction also recommended a simplified version of the menu that included an audience self-selection with all actions available to that audience – this interactive menu would be imbedded on the homepage.
The first page to be developed was the homepage. Once the page was designed, the NewView marketing team explored the UX/UI of the page and worked alongside Traction to make a few minor tweaks and adjustments.
Once the look and feel aligned with the marketing team’s vision, NewView’s READable accessibility team was brought in to ensure the accessibility of the homepage. Manual and digital testing was conducted to ensure that all elements of the menu and the homepage were perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Manual testing was key to identifying accessibility issues from the very beginning. Our READable team is 100% comprised of individuals living with disabilities, and those individuals utilized a variety of assistive technologies to navigate the menu and homepage to ensure its accessibility.
While testing, the accessibility team looked for:
- Keyboard traps
- Missing alt text
- Content comprehension
- Navigability, all content needed to be navigable utilizing a keyboard
Stage 2 – Child page development
The next step was to begin building out the remaining pages. Traction worked to design a few page types that would meet a variety of needs, and those pages were populated with content and once again reviewed by NewView’s marketing team, before being passed over to the READable team for manual accessibility testing.
Once accessibility was confirmed for the additional child pages, all content was populated in full for the entire website. The site was then submitted for a final review of all content. This review included:
- Manual testing for all documents imbedded throughout the site
- Analyzing color contrast
- Missing alt text
- Content comprehension
Stage 3 – Contact form development
Once all pages had been created, NewView’s marketing team began building contact us forms using the HubSpot CRM tool. Those forms were styled and embedded throughout the site. Upon completion of adding all forms, the READable team was again engaged to manually test all forms for accessibility. Some of the things the accessibility team was looking for included:
- Field descriptions
- Formatting instructions
- Headers for all forms and all subsections of forms
- Navigability of forms, could they be completed using nothing but a keyboard?
Stage 4 – Website Launch
As a final step in the quality assurance process prior to launch, NewView engaged several employees living with vision loss to conduct a list of tasks throughout the site to ensure useability. Upon receipt of all feedback, minor adjustments were made and the site was launched.
Post launch, the Traction team worked to imbed a variety of tracking pixels including Google tag manager, HubSpot, and Facebook.
Developing with Accessibility in Mind
Far too often, companies rely on accessibility widgets to overcome development challenges on their website. It is worth noting that in 2022 there were over 4,000 lawsuits filed in response to a lack of digital accessibility, and over 600 of those cases were against companies that were utilizing accessibility widgets with a false sense of security (UsableNet, 2022). It is imperative that accessibility be at the forefront of development to achieve the desired user experience. READable’s ability to come alongside the Traction team to design the NewView website means a truly accessible and positive user experience for all. We are proud to set the example for built-in accessibility without sacrificing design for a great UX/UI experience. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the READable team, and the Traction team, and we excited to continue working with them on phase two of the site which will include e-commerce functionality to support our customers in placing product orders.
If you encounter accessibility challenges on our website, we encourage you to reach out to us so we may have the opportunity to address the issue. Accessibility is an ever-changing, ongoing commitment.
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