Unlocking the power of accessibility: Key takeaways from UMBRAAD 2023

Ravi Motha
Published June 1, 2023 by Ravi Motha – Developer & Umbraco Community MVP

On May 18th I had the privilege of presenting at UMBRAAD, an Umbraco Community event, in support of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

The event had some brilliant speakers who gave interesting talks on different subjects. They shared valuable tips on making images more accessible, went deep into the world of alternative text, and tackled even more advanced topics.

One speaker who stood out was Maxwell Ivey, also known as the Blind Blogger, who spoke passionately about his experience of being a blind user and advocate of inclusivity on the internet.

Learn the rules to break the rules

At first, my talk had a catchy click bait title aimed at grabbing attention and making the audience think about accessibility rules. However, it ended up evolving into an exploration of the historical background of accessibility and why it should hold such significance for businesses.

During the talk, we delved into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which include the levels A, AA, and AAA. We discussed the importance of striving to meet these standards and explored the reasons behind it. Additionally, we examined the legal aspects associated with these accessibility standards.

I also looked at how teams can engage in good accessibility and make that a selling point for businesses. Remember, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disability (16% of the world’s population, or one in six of us). 

So, I asked the questions: why aren’t organisations actively doing something in their sales process (educating clients), design process (colour contrast and page structure), development process (usage of ARIA, and good image alt text) and QA (testing for specific user issues) to deliver a better product or process?

Involve the whole team in accessibility processes

My presentation covered how you can make small changes to your techniques to involve more people from your team in the process. It identified who you should be focussing on to make the most and best effort to bridge this gap towards greater accessibility.

Accessibility has been around a long time; in fact, WCAG was first founded in 1995 and the first standards documentation was published in 1999. It shows that, while we've come a long way, we still have a long way to go.

However, with events and initiatives like UMBRAAD (roughly 95 sign-ups and a peak viewership of 56) keeping the conversation alive, we have a bright and accessible future for more people to look forward to.

At dotcentric we pride ourselves on designing and developing accessible websites and applications that meet the latest WCAG. Contact us to find out more.

Interested in working together?

To learn more about working with us, talk directly with Alastair on 0203 8876616 or email al@dotcentric.co.uk.