Newsletter August 13, 2021

Let’s Talk About:

Accessibility and Public Health Tools

Peyton Chance

By Peyton Chance, Project Manager

For decades, the digital needs of people with disabilities have largely been ignored, despite the existence of international standards for designing and building with accessibility in mind. The vast majority of websites and web apps (97.4% of homepages) do not meet the standards laid out in the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

It's clear something is failing when it comes to digital accessibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated this problem. Inaccessible public health sites and tools lead to disjointed experiences for people with disabilities at best and the loss of critical information at worst. As multidisciplinary teams around the country scrambled to provide information, accessible practices often were not prioritized. The resulting digital products – information sources, testing platforms, and vaccination schedulers – were inconsistent in their accessibility.

We at Viget believe accessibility best practices should be foundational to digital design and development. As creators, we can and must lean on international standards for accessibility as we build to manage the challenges presented by COVID-19. In a recent article, I shared just a few of the areas of accessibility we focused on when building Vaxfinder, a vaccine locator for the state of Massachusetts. Give it a read to learn how we approached creating this timely public health tool.

Read the Article

Articles We Love

  1. 1. The Inaccessible Internet “...as we shift to working, schooling, shopping, and communicating virtually, the pandemic is showing how many holes remain in digital accessibility. From the absence of captioning to technical obstacles to blatant disregard for who even has access to the internet, these holes are everywhere: in health care, the workplace, education, and even state government websites...”
  2. 2. Prioritizing users in a crisis: Building the California COVID-19 response site “We run automated audits which give us performance and accessibility scores on every build. Getting a high score on these automated tools is a good initial indicator, but not the whole story. We also manually test sites, ensuring we remain accessible via alternative navigation modes.”
  3. 3. COVID-19 Vaccine Pages and Barriers to Individuals with Disabilities “[WebAIM’s] automated WAVE analysis of vaccine information and registration web sites for all 50 state (plus DC) sites discovered that most sites may pose notable barriers to users with disabilities. All but 13 of the 94 pages tested had detectable accessibility issues.”

What We’re Up To

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Creating a name that will represent your brand in a compelling and memorable way is hard. Elyse Kamibayashi and Elliott Muñoz share some of their process to do so here.

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We once again worked alongside Project Beacon and the state of Massachusetts to quickly build a website that allows users to easily locate COVID-19 vaccine sites in Massachusetts.

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Having an accessible site requires accessible forms. Read how Senior Developer Soloman Hawk builds complex, stateful, interactive, and accessible forms.

Viget Summer

With every new hire we make, we expect Viget to change. We believe values are steady, but culture should evolve over time. Come help shape Viget – we’re hiring!


Careers

We’re currently hiring in all four of our locations. For some positions, we'll consider permanently remote team members. We would love to hear from you!

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