Transcript for “How to Successfully Prepare for a Digital Accessibility Audit” Webinar
Transcript with Audio Description
[00:00:00.00] Text, Allyant. Simple. Seamless. Accessibility. How to Successfully Prepare for a Digital Accessibility Audit.
[00:00:13.73] Hello, everyone, and welcome to this Allyant webinar. Today, we are going to be discussing how to successfully prepare for a digital accessibility audit. Now before we get started, I just want to let everyone know that please ask as many questions as you would like you can use the functionality within the tool. There is a chat program within this so please ask away. We will be getting to questions at the end of the webinar.
[00:00:40.26] So there will be a section to answer those. Also, just so everyone knows is that you will be receiving a recording of this event. So that way it will be on our website. There will also be a form on the site so that you can ask additional questions. I know if you’re anything like me, I tend to completely forget what questions I want to ask until 20 minutes after the webinar. So we want to make sure that everybody is prepared to answer your questions at any given time.
[00:01:06.09] So you will have time to do that as well. So that’s basically it. I am going to be your moderator. Send all the questions to me. We’ll sort it out in the back end and then answer those.
[00:01:15.22] Slide, Today’s Presenters, two pictures, with names and titles.
[00:01:15.29] And without further ado, let’s talk today about today’s presenters. So we are very fortunate today. So we have first and foremost Mr. Ben Cantlon with us, our vice president of client services at Allyant, as well as Taylor Sullivan, our customer success manager.
[00:01:30.83] These two gentlemen know more about digital accessibility than anyone I have ever met. Both extreme professionals in the field. So I am going to leave it up to you gentlemen take it from here. And I will reconnect with you at the end of the webinar as we start answering questions.
[00:01:49.29] Thanks Scott. Thanks very much. Hi, folks. Thanks so much for joining us today. We’re excited to be presenting to you I hope that I know as much about running this slide show as I know about accessibility then things should go OK.
[00:02:03.32] Slide, Welcome to the new digital world. How to level set expectations, a bullet point list.
[00:02:04.73] So welcome to the new digital world I’d like to just talk for a minute about why we’re here and why we’re talking about accessibility. As you all know, more and more, we get our information and our services through websites and mobile apps and online portals.
[00:02:25.10] All of us every day are using our phones and our computers and whatever other device we might have to learn what’s going on in the world, to make decisions, and to shop or to take other services, take advantage of other services. So accessibility is all about equity. It’s about people. For someone who uses assistive technology, for example, someone who is blind or someone who’s deaf, or someone who has a motion or a cognitive impairment, their ability to access information online can be impaired or prevented if the site or app that they’re using is not accessible.
[00:03:09.96] So this is an equity issue. Someone who needs assistive technology but is on a relatively inaccessible site or app won’t be able to get the information or follow through with the service request or shopping order that they want to do. So first and foremost, accessibility is about equity and treating all humans the same. The second piece, of course, of accessibility is legal compliance.
[00:03:36.53] As we all know, there are more and more lawsuits for being waged against, excuse my bumble there, being waged against organizations whose sites and apps are not accessible. At Allyant, we see these every single day. So it is behooves you and every provider of a mobile site or an app out there to make sure that your site is accessible, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also to reduce legal risk.
[00:04:09.45] So how do organizations approach accessibility? More and more companies are approaching accessibility through a comprehensive accessibility audit. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about for the rest of today.
[00:04:23.81] Slide, What is a digital accessibility audit? A picture of a woman holding a tablet, and a bullet point list.
[00:04:24.66] So what is a digital accessibility audit? An audit is a review of a website and/or mobile applications, any digital property, against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
[00:04:40.46] Those guidelines help define the steps you need to take in the technology you need to use in order to make sure that your site is usable by a blind person who’s using a screen reader, or by a deaf person who can’t hear what’s going on and so needs to have it needs to have text prompts, et cetera. The results of an audit are a set of issues, WCAG violations, that are found on the site or the app.
[00:05:09.18] Those audit results get reviewed and Taylor is going to go into that. And then with most clients, we find and I think generally in the market the audit is followed by a period of remediation where you are updating the code for your site and/or mobile apps in order to remediate or fix the accessibility issues. Oftentimes then, that remediation is followed by QA, QA by the audit experts to determine, did you do that fix right, can this issue be closed, and can you move on from that issue?
[00:05:43.65] The goal of the remediation work is to resolve each and every accessibility issue found in your site so that none of your customers experience a blocker or even a sort of a mild irritation as they’re traversing through your site or apps.
[00:06:01.15] Slide, Why is a digital accessibility audit important? A picture of a man holding a laptop, and two bullet point lists.
[00:06:02.86] So why is this important? We touched on this already. But briefly, it’s important because if your site isn’t accessible then your users who need assistive technology will miss out on information and/or services that you’re providing.
[00:06:20.56] The experience can be extremely frustrating for that assistive technology user. And I have one simple example. There are a myriad of examples right there are hundreds of ways that accessibility problems can get in the way of that assistive technology user. One really simple example is text within an image. Let’s say that you have an e-commerce site and you have a sale going on.
[00:06:41.53] And you’re announcing that sale with a banner right at the top of your main page. And embedded in that banner in the graphic is information that there’s a 25% off sale. If that image is not properly tagged for a screen reader, no blind user will be able to see the information about that sale or know that there’s that 25% discount going on. So that’s just one simple example.
[00:07:06.85] And across sites and applications, we see many different ways that assistive technology users can get blocked. So what are the outcomes for your company of an accessible site? The first outcome that I would refer to is user frustration. It can be really we work with a lot of blind folks. Nine of our auditing team are blind and I know from talking with them that the experience of going to a site and knowing that there is content they can’t access or a step that they can’t take simply because that site is not properly designed for their screen reader. It’s hugely frustrating.
[00:07:44.65] It gets in people’s way. It may prevent them from getting a task done on your site. That then results in lost sales. It can also result in a harmed reputation. Folks talk and if people find that your site is not usable they’re going to let their friends know. And then lastly as previously mentioned, it can result in lawsuits. Every day there are law firms who are trawling sites looking for accessibility issues.
[00:08:12.73] In some cases there’s a real caring of accessibility. Behind that in many cases, those legal firms might simply be looking for a settlement. So they’re not carrying as much about whether or not your site is accessible but about can they extract a settlement from you. So these are some of the reasons that digital accessibility is important.
[00:08:35.17] Slide, What kind(s) of audit do you need? A picture of a woman writing on a notepad, and a bullet point list.
[00:08:35.86] At this point, I’d like to hand over to Taylor. And Taylor is going to talk about the different kinds of audits and what that audit process looks like. Taylor please take it away.
[00:08:45.98] Thanks Ben. Yeah so just to get started here the different types of audits is important element to consider as you proceed with your digital accessibility initiative. First we have three of our more standard audits, which is going to include the desktop version for web which is going to be your most traditional website audit. And then there’s the responsive design for mobile web. And then also native mobile app audits. And when possible, the fourth option here is what we’re going to encourage the most is where we first completed design review pre-development.
[00:09:22.87] So when appropriate with a site redesign or when you’re launching a new site, this would be where we complete that audit of the design. for the. Site and then once you’re in development and the site is completed, we would move forward with the full audit from there. Each of these audits do have a lot of considerations. And I’m going to talk through those more as we proceed.
[00:09:51.34] Slide, The Sales process, a picture of a man holding a smartphone, and a bullet point list.
[00:09:53.25] So it’s really important from the very beginning to play an active role with your audit. So during the sales process, you will be presented with a scope for the audit. And we really encourage everyone to really thoroughly review that scope of pages. It’s going to prove most successful if you are able to outline the most important pages for our team to audit.
[00:10:23.33] That’s the first step of that is going to be identifying the core user path of the site. So you’re going to want to include any page that must be interacted with in order for visitor of your site to complete the core function of the site. So that’s almost always going to include the home page. And then typically if it’s an e-commerce site it’s going to be the checkout process and product pages. So really just those imperative pages of the site.
[00:10:50.05] And then in addition to that, we look to consider any pages that include unique features or functionality. So anything that might be not covered in those core user path pages, you might want to consider including pages with that content as well. And then lastly, any frequently visited pages. So if there is any pages of your site that aren’t the primary function but still are something that’s going to be visited often, that’s going to be something good to include as well.
[00:11:24.62] Slide, Planning for optimal outcomes, a picture of a man working on a laptop, and a bullet point list.
[00:11:26.22] So once you have that scope outline, there’s still quite a few other considerations that go into the planning of the audit that’s going to impact the success. And one of the most important things is considering the timing of when you’re going to complete the audit. So we do have kind of the best case scenario and worst case scenario outlined here. So the best case scenario as I mentioned before, is going to be that design review. So the earliest we can get involved with avoiding any accessibility issues is going to prove the most successful.
[00:12:01.08] So if we’re able to help establish things for your team to watch out for during that design process, it’ll help you avoid more issues down the road. And we have seen a significantly lower number of issues in audits that are completed following a design review than when we’re proceeding from the beginning without that. And then the least ideal situation is going to be an audit that’s conducted right before you redesign a site.
[00:12:32.21] So if you have us complete an audit and then shortly after you completely redesigned the site, those audit results aren’t going to be that useful for your team because they’re going to address content and functionality that may no longer be on the site or just not applicable with the new redesign. So those are kind of the two extremes of it all. And most people are going to fall somewhere in between that.
[00:13:01.59] So really the true requirement is going to be that you have a website or mobile platform to be audited. And from there there’s considerations, like how often you’re updating the site. So many sites are going to be frequently updated and receive changes on an ongoing basis. So that’s something just to consider where your team is at with those changes and what might make sense for timing.
[00:13:29.96] Nearly all sites are going to have some form of WCAG violations that will require fixes to address accessibility issues. So anything in that realm is going to be a good candidate for an accessibility audit. And while there might be good and bad times to do the audit, not everybody’s going to have the luxury to choose that timing. A lot of times you’re going to be considering deadlines that are already in place which might include legal complaint that you’re looking to address.
[00:14:07.78] And with that, so one of the most important things to plan for optimal outcomes is going to be communicating any deadlines, especially a legal complaint. So if you have an active legal complaint that you’re working on addressing, you’re going to want to let your accessibility vendor like client know right away. That will allow them to review those complaints and prioritize them for your team.
[00:14:30.09] So as Ben mentioned, sometimes unfortunately with legal complaints there are phishing campaigns. So you might have a legal complaint that’s not even valid on your site. And by raising that to your accessibility vendor right away they can help you establish what does need to be taken care of right away. and if there are any that might not actually be a true issue.
[00:14:52.39] Slide, Planning for optimal outcomes, bullet point list continued.
[00:14:53.18] Yeah and then any other specific timelines. So if you’re doing a design review you’re going to want to let the team know when you’re planning to begin development, or if you are in the process of a redesign you’ll want to let the team know when that will be completed. And this will just allow our teams to be on the same page and make sure we’re working towards the same goals.
[00:15:19.80] Before an audit begins, we will ask in most every accessibility vendor would ask that you remove any overlay tools, such as accessibility user way. These tools are intended to provide accessible functionality for users with disabilities. But unfortunately they do typically prove to be not accessible, which means the people who it’s intended to benefit for won’t be able to access the functionality to using a keyboard, a screen reader, or other assistive technology.
[00:15:52.65] So unfortunately while there they have a good intent, they do prove to be inaccessible which is why you’d be asked to remove that before any audit does begin. Then from there, we’ll just look to confirm what environment the audit should be conducted. In a lot of times it will be in production, however, there are situations where it does benefit to be in a staging or development site as well.
[00:16:20.75] And with that, we’ll need any login credentials either for the environment or if there is a user log in that needs to be completed, if you have specific login credentials that should be used. So as I mentioned that staging environment might be a good option if you do have a site that goes through frequent updates to provide that stable environment for the audit to be conducted in.
[00:16:43.59] Slide, Planning for optimal outcomes, bullet point list continued.
[00:16:45.15] So if you want to jump to the next slide here.
[00:16:48.08] So having that stable environment will allow our team to provide you with the best results from the audit. If you’re continuously changing things during the audit, then once we provide those results, they might not be accurate. It helps to avoid discrepancies and make the results that we provide clearer for your team. Obviously, there’s going to be situations where you might need to be updating content so small content changes isn’t going to be too much of an issue.
[00:17:20.05] And other changes that need to take place can definitely be worked around. It’s just important that you let our team know what changes might be happening during that period. And then it’s also important to consider that following the audit, the sooner you’re going to be able to start working on the remediation of the issues identified is going to be better for your team. So any time updates are being made on the site, it’s creating the risk of new issues being created and the original issues identified either being no longer applicable or inaccurate.
[00:17:57.28] So if you’re not able to start those that remediation process right following the audit, you just want to keep in mind that those results will unfortunately decay over time. And that’s just something to keep in mind. And Ben will talk a little bit more later on about how you might see new issues coming up throughout the process and what that might look like.
[00:18:21.81] Slide, Your audit results, a picture of a man running his fingers over the pages of a book, and a bullet point list.
[00:18:22.42] So with that, it’s important to have a plan moving forward. So be ready when you’re going to have these results and how you’re going to proceed. And staying on track of any devilish timelines will just go smoother if you do have that plan. Once the audit results are provided, you can expect a couple of different things. Any results should be provided in an accessible and easy to use format.
[00:18:52.29] At Allyant, we do have a hub where we present those issues for your team to access. But either way, it’s just important that you’re able to and your whole team are able to review the results once they’re provided. Within those results, you should expect a couple of different things. Every issue identified should have a description and a recommended fix to give you an overview of that issue and then what needs to be completed in order to remediate the issue.
[00:19:19.60] In addition to those elements, it should also have resources available, such as a knowledge based articles that might have additional background for your team to consider. At Allyant, we provide in those knowledge articles often a alternative fix. So if the recommended fix included in the issue isn’t going to work for your team, an alternative fix might be a better approach for you.
[00:19:44.29] Additionally, we would expect to have a screenshot to help identify your team where the issue is and how it needs to be addressed. Other relevant information includes affected users. So what type of disabilities are going to be impacted by the issue? Impacted elements. So once again, helping your team to understand what part of the site is being impacted by the issue and the location of it on the site.
[00:20:13.31] So there’s many different ways you can prioritize the issues once you do have these results. At Allyant we have a three tiered approach at the issues identified. So everything is going to be categorized as either Critical, Serious, or Warning, which we refer to as P1 P2 and P3. So the P1 critical issues and the P2 serious issues are going to be considered blockers that fully present somebody with a disability from utilizing your site.
[00:20:41.48] This helps clients prioritize by knowing these issues are immediately going to prevent somebody from completing the core function of the site and should be addressed as soon as you’re able, with critical issues being a bit more severe. The blocker issues tend to be a combination of different issues that inevitably will be a blocker. And then the third one is going to be our Warning or P3 level issues. And while these aren’t full blockers on the site, they are still violations of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and can prove to be issues that make the site more challenging for somebody with a disability or might be considered more of an annoyance for them on the site.
[00:21:28.58] We do strongly encourage and recommend that all issues are addressed. While these can be used to prioritize, it’s not to say that the warning level issues should be disregarded by any means. And then we’ll talk a little bit about that more as we proceed. But just want to hit on that now.
[00:21:47.68] Slide, Your audit and remediation project team, a picture of a woman carrying a stack of folders, and a bullet point list.
[00:21:48.96] But so as you move forward with the results, having your key team is going to be a crucial component for your success as well.
[00:21:57.19] So for both the audit and remediation process, you’re going to want to have this team established. And the team is going to first off consider or consist of a project manager. So somebody who can be your communication go to, making sure that there’s alignment between our team and yours and that open communication can be maintained throughout the process. This person will always help to keep the process moving forward and keeping established timelines on track as well.
[00:22:33.41] And then you obviously have your developers involved. Whether it is a vendor that you’ve outsourced or somebody within your own team, these will be the individuals implementing the fixes, and it will be very important for them to obviously be involved throughout this process. So they are understanding what needs to be done and are able to both implement the fixes up front as well as maintain these down the road as new changes are being implemented across the site.
[00:23:02.49] Then your content managers are going to be those who are responsible for updates made across the site. So these people are going to help ensure that the fixes are applied globally and maintained. So as new content is added to the site, it’s going to be important that any recommended fixes that have been identified during the audit are applied, not just on the pages that are within scope, but also the pages outside of the scope. So it’s one thing to get through all the issues that were identified the audit but it’s to truly make your site accessible you’re going to want to make sure these are applied throughout the entire site so no matter what page somebody is on they’re not going to run into accessibility issues.
[00:23:45.04] So a couple tips that we like to recommend just to keep in mind. Consistency is going to be crucial for your accessibility team. So making sure that you have the same team throughout the project. And then if you do have anybody joining the team or people swapping in and out of the team to make sure everybody is on the same page. So if somebody new is joining the team, you’ll always want to let us to make sure they have access to all the audit results the project background they need and training.
[00:24:15.51] So at Allyant we have a couple of tools that you’d want to make sure that they’re trained in on which we’re always happy to schedule some time to quickly brief people on where we’re at and what they’re going to need to moving forward. And then keeping everybody on the same page. So again, that project manager role is going to be super important just to make sure that your team is on the same page, and any information that we communicate to your team is being shared throughout the entire team or anybody who’s working on remediation.
[00:24:46.04] Slide, Audit summary call, a picture of a woman tapping the screen of a smartphone, and a bullet point list.
[00:24:47.10] And then just working closely with your accessibility vendors. So making sure that either your full team or that project manager is keeping that communication open between our team and yours. And so one of the first steps that this is going to be the audit summary call. So we’ll look to schedule a meeting after those audit results are delivered and use that time to review some of the key findings.
[00:25:11.27] So maybe some areas that you’re going to want to prioritize are some of the most prevalent issues that were identified during the audit. And then answer any initial questions you guys have. So we do encourage that you review the results prior to that scheduled audit summary call just so you have the background. and you can come prepared with any questions.
[00:25:33.88] At Allyant, and I’m sure any other vendor is going to be more than happy to meet with you throughout the process, but having that initial call upfront is really helpful to kind of get on the same page from the get go and establish the path forward. So we do encourage your entire team, even if there’s somebody who might be involved, might not be involved it’s just best to have everybody included on that audit summary call so they can get that information up front.
[00:26:03.45] Slide, What to keep in mind during remediation work, a picture of a man smiling, and a bullet point list.
[00:26:04.95] So and then establishing the path forward, there’s quite a few things to keep in mind. But first off it’s going to be, as I’ve mentioned, applying the fixes globally to the site, so not just focusing on the scope that was audited but applying any fixes to the site and then maintaining those. So as those site’s being updated, it’s really important to continue with the learnings that you’ve had from the audit results and making sure you’re not reverting and having new issues come up.
[00:26:40.02] With that, we also encourage to avoid aids. Sometimes there’s going to be ways where you can fix it in the interim but the minute you make an update to the site, the issues new issues are going to be presented. So any time you can avoid that is going to be helpful for your team to maintain accessibility. And then as I mentioned, keeping the learnings in mind as you proceed and knowing too that accessibility isn’t necessarily black and white all the time.
[00:27:08.56] So there is some subjectivity to it. So if a recommended approach isn’t going to work for your team, always reach out and have that open conversation with your accessibility vendor to find what makes the most sense for your team, both now and moving forward with the fixes that have been recommended in the audit. And while this can be very overwhelming, following the audit, you’re going to have this I mean, you don’t know how many issues.
[00:27:40.17] But often times, there’s going to be a good list of issues for you to tackle. And it’s just important to take it step by step. We have a lot of different ways where you can prioritize these issues. And as long as you have a good team who’s willing to put in the work and you have the support along with an accessibility vendor, it’s nothing that you shouldn’t be able to handle.
[00:28:04.38] So yeah Ben is going to go through now some additional ways to prioritize and additional considerations for your team to keep in mind during the remediation process.
[00:28:14.19] Thanks very much Taylor.
[00:28:15.72] Slide, Defensibility vs Risk, a picture of a man looking at the screen of a laptop, and a bullet point list.
[00:28:16.10] So Taylor reviewed what the audit process looks like really starting with scoping during sales, going through the audit itself, and on into remediation. I’d like to talk as Taylor mentioned about a few outcomes and things to think about as you are conducting the remediation and QA work.
[00:28:36.87] The first one is defensibility versus risk. So Taylor a few minutes ago described how we categorize issues as Critical, Serious, and Warning P1, P2, and P3. Oftentimes, clients will attack those P1 and P2 issues first, work to fix those first because those are the complete blockers. They prevent someone from taking a step on your site. So those need to be resolved both so that all users can effectively and successfully use your site, and also so that your site is defensible from an accessibility perspective so that you can say, yes, each step along the way all the way through checkout and the review they can leave after the checkout every step of the way is accessible for all users, regardless of assistive technology that they’re using.
[00:29:31.17] However, it’s also critical to address those P3 or Warning issues. Now the P3 issues do not prevent a user from using your site. As Taylor mentioned, they tend to be more irritating. Maybe a link gets read out twice. So that’s OK, right? It’s still workable but it’s irritating. It’s not a great user experience. The problem though with those two issues and the thing to really keep in mind, I’m sorry, P3 issues is that those Warning level or P3 issues are the easiest to find with scanning tools.
[00:30:05.78] So they are the most commonly found issues when, for example, a law firm uses a scanning tool on your site to determine how accessible your site is and if they might want to serve you with a demand letter. So one example that I’m sure you all are aware of in the public domain is the WAVE tool. And again and again when we have a potential client come to us who has received a demand letter or a lawsuit, the list of issues found come straight out of the WAVE tool.
[00:30:35.03] And again most of those are going to be those Warning level issues. So while they don’t prevent a user from successfully completing tasks or getting information for from your site, they do present added legal risk because they’re the most common issues to be called out in a lawsuit or a demand letter. So those three issues need to be resolved for a somewhat different reason. They need to reduce that risk so that when someone runs a WAVE tool on your site, they don’t get a list of P3 issues because you have successfully resolved each one of those issues that was found during the audit.
[00:31:12.01] Slide, Third-party Components, a picture of a woman smiling, and a bullet point list.
[00:31:13.73] Another absolutely key area of consideration is third party components. So the web is built on third party components, right? Almost every site out there except the most basic billboard site includes maybe it’s a Google map or maybe it’s a search function, a sophisticated autocomplete search function that lives in the header on every single page. Checkout systems are often third party. Et cetera.
[00:31:44.96] So almost every site has third party components. And that’s how the web is built and that’s fantastic. Except that third party components introduce accessibility risk for you because those components may have accessibility issues that you are not able to resolve. You do not control the code. typically for that third party components that you have purchased, and therefore you can’t update the code and fix those accessibility issues.
[00:32:13.98] So when we audit we track which issues are associated with third party components. And we mark issues as third party components issues. During the audit summary call in afterward, your CSM and our auditors who may join some of those calls will guide you through what your options are with those third party components. And I’m going to talk to that briefly now. So one option is to work with the vendor to fix the accessibility issues.
[00:32:47.00] A lot of third party components vendors are very interested in making their products accessible. They understand the challenges here and the benefits here just as well as we do. So you can work with them. You can provide the list of issues that our audit found. You can ask us to dig deeper into that third party components and provide a more complete list of third party issues.
[00:33:41.09] Those approaches, however, carry risk. The next time that component is updated by the vendor and you install the updated version on your site, any fixes that you have made, unless they were shared back with and incorporated by the vendor, any fixes that you have made will be wiped out and you’ll need to fix them again and those same fixes may not work. So fixing issues yourself on a third party components carries risk and will involve future work almost certainly.
[00:34:09.14] A third option is to replace the component with something that provides the same functionality, but is more accessible. We are happy to talk with you through this. We have worked with some component vendors to help them make their components accessible. And so we are able in some cases to provide recommendations for accessible components, or to talk with through the pros and cons of various components with you.
[00:34:34.82] The fourth option that we see is to accept the risk that is introduced by the accessibility issues in the third party components. That does mean that risk will live on your site and that a user may be blocked or a scanner may find those issues. But that is a fourth option for you to consider. So just to recap because this is such an important piece. Every site almost every site contains third party components. They present an accessibility risk because they may have accessibility issues that you and your team are not able to resolve.
[00:35:10.43] And while the vendor may be willing to work with you to resolve those issues, their timeline and your timeline may not match. So there are a few ways that we address those third party components, and we will talk with you about this repeatedly as we’re working through your audit and remediation.
[00:35:28.08] Slide, Understanding when and why new issues may arise, a picture of a man sitting next to a computer, and a bullet point list.
[00:35:29.61] So this is a toughie. Sometimes after the audit, new issues arise. And understandably, clients find this pretty upsetting.
[00:35:40.34] We thought we had 200 issues and now you’ve found 15 more. Issues we weren’t expecting that. We’ve made our plans and we budgeted to resolve the known issues and now there are more that is upsetting for clients. We talked about this during the kickoff call during the audit summary call and beyond. In most cases, a few new issues are found somewhere along the lines. And I want to talk for a minute about why.
[00:36:09.57] One reason is that we run a walk through toward the end of your project. And that walk through, we really go back through and sort of re audit those core user path pages. And that review will often find new issues. And there are several reasons why that’s the case.
[00:36:30.75] Slide, Why do we find new issues? A picture of a man looking at a tablet, and a bullet point list.
[00:36:31.24] So the most common reason, frankly, is changes to your site or to your mobile app. We all know that one of the beautiful things about sites and apps and also one of the challenging things is that they change regularly. They can be updated easily and often to provide your users and your clients with new information new functionality, new content that’s important to them.
[00:36:53.85] But those changes can then introduce new accessibility issues. So that is the single biggest reason we see for new issues arising during QA and in particular during that walkthrough that we do late in the QA and remediation process. Another reason for new issues is that the fix of one accessibility issue can expose another issue that underlies it that was previously hidden. So in that case, our auditors because they were blocked by issue A simply were not able to see issue B until issue was fixed. That’s the second reason.
[00:37:31.24] A third reason that we find new issues is that occasionally we miss an issue during the audit. We do our very best to hit 100% every time, but sometimes we miss an issue. If your site happens to have a lot of accessibility challenges, and there are 300 issues, we might have a 99% hit rate and still miss those three issues. So that does occasionally happen. Our advice to you is really twofold. Be prepared for new issues to arise. Particularly do a walkthrough.
[00:38:02.97] Let your team know that at that 90% complete mark, they will probably see a few more issues. Simply knowing that that’s coming can help a lot so that it’s not a surprise when a few new issues arise. It’s also really important that all of your executive stakeholders if your executive team sees that there are 20 issues left and then we do a walk through and they’re suddenly 25, they might ask why.
[00:38:30.30] And so preparing them for this make the expectation of a few new issues a part of your process so it doesn’t come as a surprise and it doesn’t overly impact your schedule.
[00:38:45.25] Slide, Maintaining your digital properties to ensure ongoing compliance, a picture of a woman typing on a laptop, and a bullet point list.
[00:38:47.29] Lastly, I want to talk for a minute about maintaining compliance. As I just said, websites and mobile apps change on a regular basis. And those changes can very often introduce new accessibility issues.
[00:39:05.21] So how do you maintain the accessibility of your digital properties over time? So the first step is to use the audit and remediation experience as a learning experience. If your team retains that information they learn during the audit and the remediation, as they’re building out new pages and new functionality, as they’re adding new content by paying attention to accessibility and using what they have learned, fewer or ideally no new violations will be created as you create new content, new functions, and new pages.
[00:39:43.23] Another way to help maintain accessibility is to have us do many audits along the way. So let’s say you have an all new page or you’re updating an important feature on your site . Schedule some time with us while that work is still in staging to audit your new functionality and give you feedback before that functionality goes live. That way you can make sure that new page, or that updated checkout, or whatever it is that you’ve changed is accessible from the moment it goes live to your clients and customers.
[00:40:15.70] We offer periodic monitoring after remediation is complete, and we think that this is a wonderful way to maintain accessibility. With the monitoring approach, every so often it might be quarterly, it might be semi yearly, our auditors will go back to your site or your mobile apps and review the core user path, check for changes, check to make sure that it has stayed accessible. And from that, they will produce a new list of issues if any issues are found.
[00:40:45.61] This is a great way as you’re making minor changes along the way to make sure that none of those minor changes have introduced a significant issue. And again we typically see our clients requesting those monitoring sessions either quarterly or semi yearly. If your site changes a lot, if you have continual content updates, and you frequently update your functionality then of course, more frequent maybe quarterly monitoring makes sense.
[00:41:10.48] If your site is more stable than semi yearly or maybe even yearly depending on the rate of change of your content and functionality will make sense for you. Your CSM will be really happy to talk with you about that. And the experience that we gain in working with you through the audit and through the remediation help us understand your rate of change and help give you a tailored recommendation for how to best maintain accessibility over time.
[00:41:37.82] And then can I actually just jump in here quick.
[00:41:39.71] Yes sir.
[00:41:40.37] I’m going to add a little to that and answer a question from Iggy in the chat. So you had asked about our automated and manual elements of our audits. So our audits are completed by live user auditors. So we’ll have two auditors on every audit one. Will be a cited auditor, and one will be a native screener auditor who is an individual who is visually impaired and uses that assistive technology on a day to day basis.
[00:42:12.59] And the monitoring that Ben mentioned will also be conducted by live users. We do offer in our hub toolkit a scanning tool. And while this won’t capture every issue, this can be useful in between monitoring sessions. It will uncover a subset of accessibility issues which will often be the most frequently seen issues included in legal complaints. So it can be a helpful way to catch some of those issues in between. But we do strongly encourage the full monitoring between audits just to make sure that you’re getting that full scope of issues identified.
[00:42:58.25] That’s great, Taylor. Thank you very much. And I’ll just add a bit to that. I think it’s really great that you mentioned the live user audit folks. In case this wasn’t clear, earlier every one of our audits as Taylor mentioned is conducted live. So we run a scanner, we run our own scanner at the beginning of your audit. But we know that 75% of issues accessibility issues on a site are not found by that scanner.
[00:43:21.93] So we have a sighted and a blind or low vision auditor in every single engagement live auditing your pages to make sure that every issue is caught. That’s a great thing to call out. Thank you, Taylor. I also wanted to follow up with what Taylor said about the scanner. Our hub toolkit does include a scanner. It’s an excellent scanner. It finds more issues than most scanners on the market. But nonetheless, it is limited to something like 25% of the typical issues that we find on a site.
[00:43:54.05] A great way for you to use that scanner is, as Taylor mentioned, along the way in between monitoring sessions, if you’ve made some changes to a page, maybe change some content and the layout a little bit, run the scanner on that page. That’ll quickly and easily help identify new issues, especially P3 or Warning type issues that you may have generated by updating that page, and will help you then resolve those issues.
[00:44:19.61] The scanner when it runs creates issues in the hub that come complete with as Taylor mentioned earlier links to knowledge articles, code fixes, other options, et cetera. Thank you for that Taylor.
[00:44:34.71] Slide, Important Answers to Important Questions.
[00:44:36.01] We’ve now reached the Q&A portion of our discussion. So we welcome questions. Scott you may have a list going.
[00:44:44.39] And we do so. I’m going to give you the first one. Now you covered this actually in part of the webinar but I think you’ve obviously caught someone’s attention here. It reads I have a third party search component in the header on every page of my site that has a known WCAG violation. What are my options? So that’s yeah so what happens in that particular case is that obviously search is really important for certain sites depending on how you’re going some sites are so massive that you have to use search.
[00:45:14.47] What are the options if their current search doesn’t work?
[00:45:19.24] So that’s a good question and we have seen this again and again. Like Scott said, search is so critical. And there are wonderful third party search components out there that will do autofill and will drop a modal down with a list of near matches, et cetera. And that’s wonderful functionality for your users as long as they can access it.
[00:45:40.67] So I think the first step there after talking with us to really understand what are the issues that we’re seeing in that search field, the first step is really to talk to your vendor. It is a bigger step to change vendors as you all know. So the first step is to talk with your vendor. We’re concerned about this. This is adding risk to us and to every one of your client’s. Here are the issues that were found in audit of your search component. Are you ready and willing to attack these and fix them in relatively short order so that we and all of your clients can become more accessible?
[00:46:19.03] I think if the vendor is willing to do that and make good faith and fairly rapid efforts, that’s a very good approach. A second approach is to, as I mentioned, fix issues yourself. Sometimes you might do that as an interim step. Let’s say the vendor has agreed to fix accessibility issues and they’ve given you an estimate of three months. It might be possible for you to temporarily fix one or two key issues in that search to make it work better in the interim.
[00:46:49.84] Again, the risk of fixing by yourself is that fix can be overwritten by the next vendor’s release so you have to be very thoughtful and planful if you take that approach. A third approach as I mentioned, is to change vendors. We are happy to work with you to talk about what particular components in this case, search, what search components have we worked with have we audited any? What do we see out there in the market that is more or less accessible?
[00:47:16.27] It’s not really our job to recommend a vendor. We want to be careful about that. But we can talk to you about our knowledge of the accessibility of different components. Another option is to remove that from your site. That can be a pretty painful option depending on what the functionality is. And then the last option as I mentioned, is to recognize and live with those accessibility issues knowing that you cannot fix them yourselves.
[00:47:42.49] That does mean that risk will live on your site. And in that case, our recommendation would be that you continue working on how you’re going to resolve that over time, not just let it sit there indefinitely. I hope that answers the question.
[00:47:59.16] It did for me. You’re not my audience. I know, I know. So no but you made some really good points. Here’s another one that’s actually coming in. This has to do with some of the legal aspects of this and look we knew this was coming for sure we see this a lot. It reads I received a demand letter claiming that my site is inaccessible and threatening to sue me for something. What do I do?
[00:48:23.78] Now, I know that you mentioned look I mean, how many of these do we get a week. Like we have a hotline on our website for people to be able to reach out to us in these particular cases. That’s how prevalent this scenario is. But you guys have mentioned also that it’s like this can be it can be a little weird is that we all know that, yes, there’s very real issues that can happen. And there is very real legal consequences that can happen.
[00:48:50.73] We also know that we see a handful of bogus claims as well. And just mention it’s kind of a phishing social engineering kind of side of things where it really has become almost like this underground cottage industry of scamming people at times too and you have to be careful of that so. What do people do in this particular case?
[00:49:13.70] That’s a great question, and thank you whoever asked that question and thanks Scott. We have a great process there we have a legal team that is made up of a group of our auditors who have, they’re not lawyers, I need to be clear. But they have more experience in the legal field and specifically around legal issues and connected to accessibility issues.
[00:49:36.14] That team is headed up by Aaron Page. He’s one of our most senior auditors. He’s our director of accessibility and he himself is blind. The best approach that we have found for addressing demand letters is what we call a rebuttal report. And here’s how that works. For a rebuttal report, we will do an audit of your site. It is critical that we run an audit of your site so that we know the reality of the accessibility issues on your site.
[00:50:03.56] And then we will compare the issues that we found in our audit to the issues called out in that demand letter. Many times we can rebut or disprove most or even all of those issues. Sometimes it would be a joke if it weren’t so serious. Sometimes we get demand letters that are very clearly just a form letter that was sent to multiple organizations. And the issues that were found are sort of generic issues and turn out not to be true.
[00:50:34.35] So typically in a rebuttal report, the most common case is that we find that many of the issues listed are not a problem or not or even just totally invalid. And sometimes most often there are a couple of issues that are real so of course our advice there is tackle those issues first. Tackle the issues that are real and then work with us to write that rebuttal letter, that rebuttal report. And send it to that law firm saying you know this demand letter’s BS essentially.
[00:51:04.25] We have found that has stopped an awful lot of demand letters before they could take further steps because we’re able to prove that they are largely or entirely incorrect.
[00:51:18.22] So I have another one here for you. Again, I know that this is somewhat of a hot topic, both even from a legal perspective and those things too. But this reads I have a VP who’s very married to the idea of continuing to use accessibility. Is there more information on concerns around overlays.
[00:51:42.87] There sure is, and by the way Taylor please jump in at any time. I don’t want to monopolize. But I will just start by saying that yes, the National Federation for the Blind, I believe, released a report on the inadequacy of overlays and the problems that they generate for assistive technology users. I think that for that particular person who asked that question, we could provide some links to information online and this is not information from us. This is industry information from sources that are not looking for your business.
[00:52:14.68] So National Federation for the Blind being one good example. There’s been a lot of discussion of this in the industry in the marketplace over the past year. So there’s plenty of information to share with your VP about the problems with really any overlay tool.
[00:52:33.51] I think too just to add to that a lot of the features that they provide, such as contrast or magnification functionality, a lot most browsers offer that already. So any individual who would look to utilize that probably already has methods through their browser for utilizing those tools.
[00:52:56.27] That’s exactly right and I’d like to follow that by saying that just like a scanner, an overlay tool typically manages the simplest issues. So a color contrast problem is a simple problem typically for your development team to fix. Overlay tools don’t typically manage those more complex issues, the P1s and P2’s that are true blockers for your users.
[00:53:24.38] So not only do the overlay tools typically introduce accessibility issues and are recommended against by sort of major players in the industry, but also they don’t resolve some of the toughest issues that your site might contain.
[00:53:42.18] All right so here’s– I’m going to ask you guys a question that I’ve kind of put together on my own from just some of the feedback coming in as far as other questions as well. And you Ben you just kind of touched on this as far as the development teams and we discussed a lot about working with development teams. One of the questions that does come up in our daily lives and working in accessibility is that if a company has an extremely mature development process, something that is like highly defined has been around for a long time, they have a way of doing things, how do we interface with those existing processes?
[00:54:21.27] Because I think that’s also one of those how do we work all together because sometimes it’s like if there is a development process and then it falls outside of the development process or vise versa. How do we bridge that gap?
[00:54:37.26] Taylor, you want to start?
[00:54:40.00] I was going to have you.
[00:54:41.36] All right I’ll start.
[00:54:42.22] I was actually just looking for the link for the National Federation of the Blind.
[00:54:47.14] OK great. Thank you. Great. So yeah we work with a wide range of organizations as you would imagine, from mom and pop shops to Fortune 100 companies. And those organizations have huge differences in their development teams ranging from one part time developer to teams that are using an agile methodology and have been established for many years and include dozens or even hundreds of developers. So we adjust our style of working to fit your style and what your dev team needs.
[00:55:18.98] So for example, with a more mature dev organization, some of the things we often do, we might schedule periodic prescheduled QA to match your sprints. So if you do two week sprints that end on a Thursday, we’re going to QA everything that you remediated in your last sprint on Friday. So that when your team comes back on Monday morning, their QA results are done.
[00:55:44.41] And they as they’re starting their next sprint, they know what they completely finished in the last sprint, what may be only partially complete and has a little more work to do, and they can get that done and move on into the next sprint. We also offer integration with Jira so that the results from our hub software can be delivered automatically to Jira. And changes that you make in Jira can be delivered back to hub so that if you prefer to use Jira for your development organization, and so many companies are already doing so we can interface with that automatically.
[00:56:18.01] There’s a quick setup that we do early in our relationship with you and then results flow back and forth between hub and Jira as we and your team make changes as we progress through the remediation. So we’re really experienced at working with all sorts of different dev organizations. We work with internal development organizations. We work with agencies or other consulting firms. We work with offshore external development organizations. And I think we have a good process and we work to meet the needs of your dev team and how they best work.
[00:56:52.11] So I have one question left. We are running we have about three minutes left in this 60 minute webinar. I want to make sure that we’re just conscious of everyone’s time. We don’t want to run over I know that everyone probably has other meetings to get to. And again, please visit our website, you will be getting a recording of this webinar as well. So you can ask questions then. Any questions we didn’t get to we’ll also have our team reach out to you directly after this webinar and make sure that we’re answering those.
[00:57:18.51] This is a pretty easy one but one that is like we see show up all the time. And it’s the third party app claims that they are ADA compliant but there are issues from the app on our audit report. I reported it to the app provider but they said, oh, just ignore it. How should I handle that?
[00:57:40.74] That’s, yeah, that’s we see that a lot.
[00:57:43.60] It happens all the time.
[00:57:45.48] Yeah just someone that works in that field too is that like it’s the dealing with third party apps is that constantly when you read their own websites, they’re like 100% compliant absolutely, accessible. And the minute it goes through an audit it’s like absolutely not so. How do you deal with that?
[00:58:05.40] One approach that we recommend is suggesting to the third party that setting up a call with us to talk through the issue so then we can explain it to them as we explain it to you. But sometimes just making that suggestion makes them realize that you’re serious about it and you want to take action to make sure it’s correct.
[00:58:31.27] That’s right. And we are happy to work with that vendor. We have worked directly with a variety of third party components vendors, the one that pops right to my mind is a chat vendor, to ensure that their components are accessible. Again, as I said before, if we are on a call with you and your vendor, we are happy to do that. As Taylor said, we have found that those can be very productive. That is typically happening under your support contract so something for you to be thoughtful about.
[00:58:59.56] Sometimes we might have that first call with you and your vendor. And then we can work to contract with that vendor to deliver a full audit directly to them and work with them to remediate and QA their component to make it more accessible. But circling back to what Scott said at the beginning, it’s absolutely true that virtually every component claims that there are 100% accessible and the vast majority are not.
[00:59:28.32] Gentlemen, thank you so much for the webinar today. Thank you for everyone that joined us.
[00:59:33.24] Slide, Allyant. Simple. Seamless. Accessibility. Thank you! Contact us to learn more and to book your free consultation. info at A-L-L-Y-A-N-T dot com. International: 1 6 1 3 2 3 6 0 8 6 6.
[00:59:34.02] For any information on this, please visit our website at Allyant.com. There are forums and the site. Please book a free consultation. We’d love to chat with you about this. Also email us at info@Allyant.com, or call us. You know it’s like we’re here to answer the phones. Give us a call 1 800 5630668.
[00:59:57.60] Any way that you want to get a hold of us, slip into our DMs, I don’t know that’s what the kids say, I don’t know how this works anymore. Anyway, any way you want to get a hold of us, check it out on social as well. And yeah, absolutely we’re here to help with anything that anyone needs in all aspects of accessibility, obviously not just even the digital component. There’s everything from Braille printing, to PDF accessibility, to even big enterprise automation stuff that we do to help on all aspects of accessibility.
[01:00:27.48] So again, gentlemen, thank you very much. Thank you to our listening audience and we will see you next time on the next client webinar.
[01:00:33.91] Thanks so much.