Driving a better web for all

See how our customers are championing digital inclusion


 

First Tech Federal Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union is the nation’s premier credit union serving employees and family members of the world’s leading technology companies and we recently launched a new website design for www.firsttechfed.com. When we did so, website accessibility was at the forefront of the project to improve the website experience for all members and prospective members.

This site was built to showcase our product line, answer member’s questions, and allow visitors to login to online banking. During the development process, we used the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker plugin to review pages and fix issues before launching the new site to the public.

This plugin caught several items that we missed initially creating pages on the site and showed us tips on how best to resolve our issues. The previous site design had a Siteimprove Accessibility score of 66.5, and after launching the new site, we ran a full scan of the site and our score skyrocketed to an 87.8! We were happy with that score but we didn’t stop there. We have continued to use Siteimprove to fix any accessibility issues that pop up and have increased the score to 98.1. We strive to provide a great member experience and are very happy with the strides we have made to make the site more accessible to all.

 


Misericordia University

Misericordia University has always prioritized accessibility with a long-standing commitment to creating an environment where all are welcome. That environment extends beyond the physical campus and includes the school’s online presence.

In fact, the importance of digital inclusion and ADA compliance has always been a consideration at MU as evidenced in this archived press release from all the way back in 2001.

In 2016, our president received a notification alerting universities that there was a law firm targeting, and suing, NAICU members whose websites were not accessible. Utilizing an in-house approach featuring a partnership between marketing and IT, along with working with Siteimprove and other vendors, we were able to achieve even more significant results for website accessibility compliance.

On any given day, Misericordia’s website sits at upwards of 95% accessible according to Siteimprove’s Accessibility Score. The industry standard for education is closer to 71%. Our Audioeye Toolbar is available on all pages of our .edu site to offer even more accommodations. This toolbar provides a fully customizable experience users can tailor to their individual needs, regardless of their device type, language preference, or preferred method of access. The toolbar offers up a visual toolkit with “atomic” features meaning they can be combined with other tools or have only one on at a time.

If users want both larger font and a larger cursor, but don’t need the contrast tools, they can pick and choose what they need and turn off what they don’t. The user website experience is consistent across all pages and it eliminates any variability in performance or function from one page to another. Through the toolbar, we now have a website accessibility statement present on all pages of our site. In addition, we built a dedicated accessibility webpage with usable forms for visitors to make accommodation requests or ask questions.

To better handle website accessibility issues, my colleague, Dave Johndrow (MU PC Services Manager) and I completed accessibility auditing certification. This was completed because we wanted to make our website an even more welcoming place and positive experience for all visitors. This also enabled us to tackle internal remediation and auditing techniques successfully.

Our channels of communication have extended outside of the online environment as well. Dave and I have since hosted various workshops and conference presentation sessions both on campus and in webinar format to help educate our users on best practices in ADA compliance. As a result of our efforts in ADA compliance, we were recognized by several professional organizations including CUPRAP (College of University Public Relations and Associated Professionals) and CASE (The Council for Advancement and Support of Education).

CASE recognized us as a Platinum Award District Finalist in the category of “Best Practices in Digital Communication.” Platinum Awards judging takes place in two parts--like a tournament. CASE members enter their best work through their region (Asia-Pacific, Europe or Latin America), or through one of the eight North American districts (we are in District II). Entries are judged first at the local level for possible recognition. Up to two finalists in each category from each region and district then automatically advance to be judged by a global panel in a second round to determine which entries deserve the coveted Platinum Award.

We are proud to have helped the university significantly mitigate its risk of a web accessibility lawsuit, in an environment when the number of lawsuits continues to skyrocket. Further, hundreds of colleges and universities are currently under investigation by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for failing to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.

Although it’s a major factor, it’s important to note that compliance has never been the primary motivation for Misericordia. More accessible simply means more usable – an overall better user experience for everyone, and that’s a win/win. But it’s also just the right thing to do. It’s being a good citizen. If every organization committed to digital accessibility, there’s no doubt the online world would be a much better place for all.

 


UC Santa Barbara

We are committed to training staff and faculty at UCSB to create accessible content and systems. Accessibility is also part of our process when building websites and applications. We like to help each unit – when moving to the new UC Santa Barbara branding – to take that opportunity to learn more about accessibility and how to utilize Siteimprove to improve their site’s user experience, content quality, and search engine optimization.

We do this by offering both individual and group training, as well as a place to ask questions within our campus community. We heavily promote accessibility awareness, including working on a new campus accessibility policy. We also support multiple workshops during the year and promote Global Accessibility Awareness Day.