Level Access is transforming digital accessibility training with a revolutionary new platform

Digital accessibility is one such area where the vast majority of businesses now seem to understand the legal and moral imperatives for making their websites, mobile apps, and other digital products accessible to people with disabilities.

Even better, over the past 10 years, organizations have begun to increasingly appreciate the business case for website accessibility as a clear return on investment, with 15-20% of their customer base potentially living with a form of disability.

Away from the big picture and blue-sky thinking, what has, too often, remained less clear for businesses is how to consistently produce and sustain compliant, rich, and equitable digital experiences for all. their clients.

Indeed, at a more granular level, digital accessibility is certainly technically complex, filled with precepts and jargon that are unfamiliar to those lacking expertise, and usually comes with that element of fear associated with the consequences of ‘a mistake.

A thirst for knowledge

In an attempt to fill some of these gaps, Washington-based Level Access, a leading provider of digital accessibility solutions, recently launched its innovative new learning platform to help educate staff members spanning a organization on the principles and practices of digital accessibility. .

What makes their offering, named Access Academy, unique is how it has been seamlessly integrated into day-to-day workflows – with deep learning opportunities flowing directly from timely reported access issues. real during accessibility audits.

This way, users retain the ability to learn on the job through text prompts and instructional videos that trigger when specific accessibility issues are detected, making training much more impactful and relevant than ever before. for the end user.

This is in stark contrast to the traditional way of delivering accessibility training that dates back over 20 years, where trainers would come to customers’ premises and deliver face-to-face lessons on accessibility-related topics during hours or over a period of several days.

The problem with this siled approach was that it was too academic, making it difficult for participants to correlate the fairly technical and esoteric principles they were taught with the day-to-day realities of their professional role.

This picture has then improved somewhat over the past six or seven years with the advent of more online courses that have been integrated directly into a company’s learning management system. These modalities offered greater flexibility around self-paced learning and made greater use of video material.

Access Academy, which was announced earlier this month, takes it a step further with ultra-concise micro-learning bits consisting of videos very focused on the access task at hand, say, for example, adding alt tags to describe images, but last no longer than one to three minutes.

This ability to inject training content directly into daily processes comes through integration with an organization’s audit suite or bug tracking tickets for project management software such as Jira.

In short, the power and long-term value of training lies in its immediacy and its concern with the here and now in relation to what the user is acting upon.

As Tim Springer, CEO of Level Access explains, “With Access Academy, not only are learners likely to be more receptive to training in the first place, but their knowledge retention is also enhanced. When training is simply done in class, it becomes very theoretical and the message is diluted.”

Equally important for improving knowledge retention, by making Access Academy teachings minimally disruptive, users can still focus on the groundwork at hand and view digital accessibility more as an integral part of the process, rather than a frustrating margin or distraction.

In addition to this task-based content, Access Academy also offers weekly live training sessions and drill-downs to cover important industry topics such as laws and regulations, mobile accessibility, testing tools and assistive technologies.

To keep things streamlined, relevant, and person-centric, learning paths are modified and tailored to different job roles with a unique accessibility footprint, including content creators, designers, IT professionals, and more. quality assurance, web and mobile developers, executive team members, and legal and compliance departments. officers.

To keep users engaged and enhance ongoing professional development, ranking and gamification features exist to track progress in a fun way, while course completion badges can be added to LinkedIn profiles to ensure the best industry talents are properly highlighted.

Understand priorities

For business leaders who remain scared of the complexities and potential pitfalls associated with digital accessibility and would rather simply outsource the problem than learn how to do it right – this is simply not an economically viable model. term due to the sheer volume of accessibility issues that crop up on a regular basis.

As Springer explains, “outsourcing anything accessibility-related will never be profitable.”

He continues: “There is a saying in the industry that 90% of all the different accessibility issues that can arise are caused by 10% of the most common failures. These are typical things like applying alt text to images, labeling form fields, header structures, etc.

“If we can just get the client to manage that 10%, this model ends up being very profitable, working really well and scaling like a dream. Part of the training, part of the micro-learning is getting the client to understand what’s in that 10% that he has to manage on his own and what’s in that 90% that he may need to ask for help,” Springer says.

Nevertheless, in the training paradigm at least, by outsourcing a method of managing important information related to the technical workings of accessibility, organizations have more time to look up and focus on the big picture. .

“We’re seeing more and more, when it comes to accessibility, that people don’t care as much about laws or digital standards as they care about the experiences of people with disabilities and so it’s important to have those kinds of learnings that are emotionally compelling,” says Springer.

Remove some of the heavy lifting around accessibility training so that staff teams have more bandwidth around the mission-critical values ​​of the organization and where accessibility fits into that broader panorama – is certainly an outright victory for all stakeholders. Especially, those who intuitively understand why digital accessibility is so important to so many people.

Comments are closed.