The No Wrong Door Virginia Innovation Review Board (VIRB) provides crucial feedback on innovations, ideas, and new services. VIRB members have the opportunity to ensure No Wrong Door remains user-driven and person-centered.
No Wrong Door Virginia and the Independent Living Services Unit in the Office for Disability Programs hosted three virtual dialogues in April and May of 2021. This sessions included consumers and those who serve consumers and end-users of NWD tools and products. We learned a lot from these first sessions of VIRB.
Our first three VIRB sessions provided these insightful and actionable takeaways to help us all learn about accessibility:
Accessibility 101: Who gets it right? Who gets it wrong?
The goal of the first meeting was to learn about challenges people face accessing information.
What we learned
People with disabilities are accessing information online with differing approaches and digital literacy skills.
It’s helpful to provide support with how to use information that’s been obtained online.
Involve end-users in the design/review of content and the structure of online interfaces.
Accessibility is a team effort – it is important to be proactive and for people and organizations to hold each other accountable.
Enhancing Accessibility Practices
The goal of the second meeting was to explore topics in the NWD accessibility guidelines white paper and get feedback on relevance, accuracy, and omissions.
It is important to normalize accommodations and the process through which they are requested/provided.
Planning for accessibility should happen early in the web design process.
Flexible accessibility controls should be embedded in materials as much as possible so that users can control the ways information is presented/received.
End-users are critical sources of information in understanding how people access information and navigate web pages.
Building the Future Together
The goal of the third meeting was to get feedback on the resources in the NWD accessibility resource catalogue and learn about other resources that participants felt were valuable to include.
Participants offered a number of recommended resources/tools to add to the NWD catalogue.
Accessibility is life saving.
Accessibility is linked to equity and inclusion
Develop a community review process that includes end-users for writing, vetting and revising content on websites and other materials. Compensate people for their time, talents and expertise.
Use everyday language to the greatest extent possible. Avoid medical/clinical language.
Normalize accommodations and the process for requesting accommodations for meetings. “We know everyone uses devices/supports, what do you need to make this successful for you?”
When hosting virtual meetings, enhance accessibility by: 1) pacing with 5-10 second wait times for responses; 2) ensuing that virtual platforms are screen-reader friendly; 3) holding meetings at regular and consistent times; 4) pinning ASL interpreters in video feeds.
Avoid linking to sites that require subscriptions/accounts (such as Facebook).
Build in scaffolds/supports so that people can understand what to do next when providing information about services.
Have intentional conversations with developers early in the design/deployment phase about how to maximize accessibility and inclusivity. Use checklists and specific examples. It costs more to retrofit after development.
Include language translation services or links on web pages.
Include resources to help people identify and avoid misinformation/scams on resources that are linked to or provided.
Everyone should hold each other accountable when it comes to accessibility.