In July, Protiviti was recognized with the Microsoft 2019 MSUS Partner Award – Diversity & Inclusion for its work with the leading workforce development provider, Goodwill Industries International, and other organizations. The MSUS awards are given to companies that demonstrate leadership in customer impact, solution innovation, deployment and exceptional use of advanced features in Microsoft technologies. Here is a glimpse into the challenges Goodwill set out to resolve.
According to a recent American Community Survey (ACS), an annual survey conducted by the United States’ Census Bureau, 12.8% of the U.S. population has some type of disability. Included in that statistic, are those who have impairments that impact accessibility to online websites, applications and documents. These impairments include:
- Difficulty lifting or grasping. This could, for example, impact use of a mouse or keyboard
- Cognitive, mental, or emotional impairment
- Vision impairment, which would include color blindness, causing users to rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader.
- Hearing impairment, requiring users to rely on transcripts and/ or captions for audio and video media.
In our digital-first world, organizations’ websites, both internal and external, become the face and nucleus of the organization. It is essential that these sites be easily accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Diversity and inclusion efforts are top of mind for most organizations and web accessibility should be a key component of those efforts.
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.
In order to address ongoing questions and concerns with meeting accessibility standards, including 508 Compliance, W3C Guidelines and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Protiviti developed the Web Accessibility Audit where its skilled user experience professionals apply advanced principles to the observed structure, accessibility and operation of organizational web properties. During the audit, we review a client’s website and evaluates it based on organization, function, structure, accessibility, flow, feedback and other essential criteria, then implement the necessary remediations.
An Important Mission for Goodwill
Goodwill Industries International, Inc., a nonprofit organization that strives to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work, recognized the importance of web accessibility for their constituents. Goodwill needed to upgrade its intranet to Microsoft SharePoint 2016 and requested that their site be fully accessible to all users.
The initiative was focused on improving the corporate SharePoint intranet that serves 9,500 registered users, primarily at the management and executive levels. Employees use the site to access and share resources, best practices, templates and learning opportunities, as well as to find directory information about locations and employees. The intranet holds special value for the small-to-medium sized Goodwill locations in 14 countries globally that rely on the site’s tools and templates to supplement what they can achieve with local resources.
According to Goodwill’s Director of Member Communications, Arlene McCrehan, the organization’s mission is to be sensitive to the accessibility needs of their constituents and to learn more about how to make sure their website is completely accessible to their diverse audience. Those constituents include individuals who use screen readers and some who have mobility issues and cannot use a traditional keyboard or mouse, for example.
After a client-led user focus group provided valuable insight on accessibility needs, Protiviti launched a web accessibility audit, which uncovered more than 150 accessibility gaps. Protiviti categorized the gaps based on a low, medium and high scale, and worked with Goodwill to prioritize items for remediation.
Key gaps for remediation included:
- Utilizing the Alt Tag function so that images would display appropriately on screen-readers
- Remediating contrast issues without sacrificing brand standards and adjusting the font size for better readability for end users
- Educating users on how to effectively leverage the accessibility features already built in to Microsoft SharePoint.
An Award-Winning SharePoint Intranet
With the recommended remediations in place, Goodwill’s new SharePoint 2016 Intranet, named “MyGoodwill” was selected as one of “The Year’s 10 Best Intranets” by Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g).
Goodwill’s fully accessible SharePoint 2016 intranet features:
- A customized mega menu that is more touch and tab friendly, giving users with mobility and vision impairments easy access to the content.
- Clear navigation and enhanced metadata. Users of the “MyGoodwill” site were trained to use metadata to categorize their content making it easily searchable.
- A clean design that enhances the text to background contrast making the site more legible from a variety of screen resolutions.
- Interactive website visuals (eg. slideshows) to meet touch accessible guidelines.
The web accessibility audit has also proven to be both repeatable and adaptable. Another client needed to evaluate the accessibility of their public facing SharePoint website. Prior to launching a new site, the client needed to address and remediate accessibility gaps. After completing a web accessibility audit, we implemented key changes to the user interface which included: expanding the feature set in the mega menu, implementing several scroll touch interactions and advising the team on how to leverage SharePoint’s accessibility features.
Diversity and Inclusion is a focus that is at the very heart of the Protiviti culture, so we were honored to work with Goodwill and other organizations to make accessibility a focus for their audiences. Each of the three “I’s” in Protiviti’s name represent the values we bring to our work each day: integrity, inclusion and innovation. These values enable us to do work that delivers meaningful results, to nurture rewarding careers for our diverse client base.