Access to the internet is becoming increasingly recognized as a basic human right. Accessibility has emerged as a major concern in the public consciousness due to the spike in digital-first consumerism from the past 10 years and has essentially become a need since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids discrimination against all disabilities in all spheres of public life, including job, education and transportation. In many instances, the ADA also applies to online environments — where it’s equally important to ensure accessibility.
Since the ADA mandates equal opportunity, experiences must be fair but may also need to be modified to meet the needs of those with disabilities. Programs, services and public accommodations protected by the ADA must effectively interact with individuals with disabilities by making sure they can use their websites and mobile applications. Making sure they are accessible is more important than ever since communication is increasingly shared through the internet and apps.
When a learning leader designs and develops a website or app, they must ensure that it is accessible for everyone. By delivering accessible training resources, businesses and organizations can remove the guesswork involved in generating fair experiences. Knowing where to start can be challenging. Let’s take a look at how digital accessibility training can promote equitable access to training and ensure ADA compliance in your organization.
Technology and Accessibility
Although the original ADA regulations don’t contain precise wording about digital accessibility, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced new regulations for two ADA titles through the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. According to the DOJ, websites, apps and other digital destinations must comply with Title III’s requirements that certain types of public accommodations be accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, the communication strategies used by state and local governments must be just as effective for persons with disabilities as they are for those without disabilities, according to a revision to Title II.
Generally speaking, two types of compliance are necessary to comply with the ADA:
- Technical compliance: Digital technology must be constructed to meet the demands of people with disabilities to be considered technically compliant. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)1 Level AA are generally viewed as the appropriate standards for technical compliance, according to the majority of experts.
- Process compliance: This means ensuring that a company’s policies, practices and procedures are implemented to remain compliant. Digital accessibility training can help ensure that your organization can keep up with innovation and promote process compliance.
Repercussions of noncompliance.
It’s critical to realize that noncompliant parties expose themselves to legal action and public attention, and in many circumstances, negative publicity can leave an irreparable stain on your brand. While the majority of lawsuits involving noncompliant behavior are settled in court, the amount of money an organization will likely spend on lawyers can be significant — and that’s before the organization even starts to address the inaccessibility of its technology. In this case, remediation must be done on a schedule determined by a third party, which can add to the expense, inconvenience and business disruption.
Sustainable and integrated accessibility training.
As video content continues to outpace more traditional methods, self-paced learning has become increasingly popular. Both at work and home, employees turn to video content on apps like YouTube for quick how-to content. This influences how learners prefer to consume content: bite-sized and in real-time. In other words, to be the most helpful, learning content should not only be delivered through videos, but should be integrated into an employee’s role.
A great way to start is with an accessibility audit. Users can learn general principles as they work to fix individual problems noted in the audit. This is offered through a combination of text prompts, instructional films and relevant content that is presented within the context of a particular accessibility issue.
This is very different to a traditional training approach, where typically trainers would visit clients’ facilities to conduct in-person seminars that lasted hours or even days. Participants would be required to memorize a complex body of information that was both highly technical and difficult to apply in their daily role.
Instead, learning outcomes can be made possible by integrating digital accessibility training with an organization’s information technology (IT) ticketing system or audit suite. Users can simultaneously work on fixing an accessibility issue while advancing their knowledge. As the problems are solved, the training is retained.
Modern Training Platform for Accessibility
Organizations of all sizes can effectively improve their digital accessibility by integrating training and learning opportunities within their day to day. This can be possible through a learning platform that includes:
Self-paced learning: These may include rules and laws, mobile accessibility, instruments for testing and assistive technology.
Customized learning pathways: Each organization is unique. Its implementation will be successful if its learning is tailored to meet particular demands. And the roles of each individual inside an organization, from product managers and engineers to designers and marketers can also determine how these pathways are customized.
Weekly live instruction: A wide range of accessibility issues may be covered in customizable live training, which can also include a Q&A session for answering queries as they come.
Microlearning: In addition to reinforcing prior knowledge from lengthy courses, providing smaller amounts of content can keep trainees motivated.
Notifications and reporting: This is how organizations track and support their people’s digital accessibility training. Reports can help assess performance and gather feedback to optimize learning. It can also provide completion alerts.
Awards and accreditation: These may include awards for accomplishments and digital credentialing to be shared on LinkedIn and exams for career advancement.
To ensure ADA compliance and promote an equitable work environment, employers should offer digital accessibility training that targets specific and relevant workplace conditions by strategically integrating learning into the organization’s culture.