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Month: May 2023

When It Comes to Accessibility, We Could All Learn From Apple.

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We all know Apple has a reputation for disrupting product categories and creating revolutionary devices like the iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch. And while the iPhone is often associated with hardware innovations, Apple has also led a transformative software revolution through its iOS accessibility features.  And unlike Windows, they offer it completely FREE to every user!  

These features have significantly improved the user experience for people with disabilities, enabling them to use iPhones with ease and delight.  With Apple’s commitment to accessibility, they’ve gained and empowered a loyal following of blind, deaf and physically disabled users who, for the first time, felt included without having to fight for it.  

Apple believes in accessibility as a basic human right and their efforts to create inclusive products is unmatched.  The role of third-party developers in creating accessible apps is also incredibly important and essential to the growth and popularity of iOS amongst disabled users. 

This philosophy should also translate to the web at large, better accessibility leads to a better user experience for everyone involved. That’s why we here at Fedora Outlier LLC believe in an “accessibility first” mindset when it comes to user experiences. When your site is easy to use for everyone, you gain more customers and lifetime loyalty from an often overlooked sector of the population.

Our manual auditing process, which is performed by actual blind and disabled individuals using accessibility software, ensures that your site is available and operable to to everyone.

To learn more and get started on making your business’ online presence more inclusive, contact us now.

Close Your Vocational Rehabilitation Case for Good!

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The past few years have shown that diverse workplaces that embrace accessibility can help alleviate labor shortages. Remote work has indeed made the job market more accessible for disabled individuals, providing them with more opportunities and lessening some barriers they previously faced. This also presents employers with a wider pool of potential employees.

Moreover, hiring disabled individuals doesn’t just address the labor shortage. It also brings in diverse perspectives and problem-solving approaches which can boost innovation and productivity. Features like closed captioning, flexible hours, and the use of personal assistive technology not only facilitate better work conditions for disabled individuals but also often enhance the overall working environment, potentially improving employee retention and engagement. 

Given these advantages, it’s quite likely that the trend of increased remote work and the consequent rise in employment among disabled individuals will continue, contributing positively to the economy.

This is why the work we do here at Fedora Outlier LLC in partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation agencies all over the United States is so important.  We strive to equip disabled individuals with the skills and tools to not only pursue a career in technology, but to also thrive in it.   

By selecting candidates who have shown an interest in pursuing employment, we’re not only providing them with new skills but also the opportunity to participate in fast growing fields that’s driving job growth and shaping the future.

The pandemic has, in some ways, leveled the playing field.  Companies have discovered they can not only operate but flourish with remote teams. This, in turn, has opened up possibilities for more flexible work arrangements and better accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Fedora Outlier LLC offers a number of different technology specific courses, one on one training sessions and developmental planning options to assist vocational rehabilitation centers across the globe with placing disabled individuals in top paying jobs that they can excel in.  

If you or someone you know has an open VR case and would like to work with Fedora Outlier to gain the skills needed for successful employment — Contact us now!

Is The WCAG Actually enforceable?

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Yes! The ADA and other laws like Title III of the ADA, Section 508, and WCAG 2.0/2.1 set standards to ensure equal access to digital properties for persons with disabilities. Ignorance of these laws and lack of accessibility can result in lawsuits, with a notable rise in such cases in recent years.

Being proactive about digital accessibility is beneficial, not just for legal compliance but also from a business perspective. It opens up access to a wider demographic, improves customer satisfaction, and enhances search engine optimization.

If a demand letter is received indicating non-compliance, the first step should always be to assess the validity of the claims and then devise a comprehensive plan to remediate these issues. This could involve enlisting a competent third-party consultant, especially if the organization lacks the internal expertise to navigate the required accessibility standards.

Choosing the right partner to navigate accessibility requirements is crucial. The partner should be able to identify and prioritize WCAG violations, provide training for developers and designers, and assist in creating a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), a document that demonstrates conformance with accessibility standards.

That’s why utilizing a team that is comprised of disabled individuals like Fedora Outlier LLC to help with your accessibility audit and remediation needs just makes sense. We have the hands on experience, life long knowledge and technology needed to perform the job quickly and correctly.

Becoming fully compliant may take time, but showing serious commitment to addressing accessibility issues, establishing a clear plan, and taking action towards remediation is essential. Regular testing and updating of VPATs is also recommended for maintaining compliance.

Ensuring digital accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. It’s about fostering an inclusive environment where all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances, can access and engage with digital content. Remember, when we improve accessibility, we enhance the experience for everyone.

Time is of the essence when it comes to your business, so don’t hesitate. To have your website evaluated and / or remediated, contact us now. We can immediately get you started on the road to being accessibility compliant!

Why Manual Accessibility Audits Are Crucial to Avoiding Lawsuits!

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IT leaders view automated testing as crucial in accelerating software innovation, including automated accessibility testing for making websites usable for individuals with disabilities. These tools can detect about 83% of accessibility issues.

However, automation doesn’t negate the necessity for manual testing. This ensures all users can access website information without issues. Comprehensive coverage needs manual accessibility testing on multiple browsers and interfaces, despite the challenges it presents.

The biggest challenges faced when testing for accessibility are:  

1. The numerous success criteria under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which require extensive expertise for effective accessibility testing.

2. The time and expertise required to use a screen reader, an essential assistive technology tool. Thus making it more efficient and practical to utilize users who are already familiar with the technology.

3. Some WCAG success criteria are open to interpretation, which can lead to confusion and delays. Clear and detailed documentation of requirements and testing processes can resolve this issue by ensuring consistent results and saving time in communication between testers and developers.

Automated processes, while instrumental in accelerating software development and accessibility, should be checked to ensure they’re performing adequately. 

Over-reliance on automation hype can lead to disappointment when expected outcomes don’t materialize.  Automated testing is useful for addressing basic issues, but manual testing remains essential. 

While many organizations aspire to fully automate digital accessibility, we’re far from realizing this goal. Some companies perceive a clean automated test result as a sign that all accessibility barriers have been removed, but this isn’t usually the case. Incomplete automated solutions can create a false sense of security.

Although automated solutions can check for elements like alt-text descriptions, they often struggle with contextual understanding and the meaningful interpretation of content. Furthermore, a technically operable interface for users with disabilities doesn’t guarantee an easy or successful user experience.

In usability testing, no technology can fully replace manual testing, especially testing conducted by individuals with disabilities. This slower, often more expensive part of the process can yield critical feedback, boosting conversions, reducing abandonment, and increasing customer loyalty.

Unfortunately, no solution can fully automate accessibility testing and remediation or guarantee WCAG and ADA compliance. Companies that rely solely on such solutions often face legal claims and are judged as insufficient in their efforts.

The advice above is not to adopt an “all or nothing approach but to utilize a mix of available automation tools and manual testing by disabled users for a more holistic approach to web accessibility.

Blind Travel Tips ✈️

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It’s a question I get a lot, from blind and sighted people alike.

How do I travel around so easily while blind?

And where does the confidence to do so come from?

Well, I can sum it up in only two words: Kindness & Tips.

​Watch this weeks video to find out how you can safely get out there and see the world too.

Exciting iPad Announcement!

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I have finally found a reason to purchase an iPad…

Apple recently announced that starting Tuesday, May 23, 2023 — Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are coming to the iPad!

As a blind video editor, this is a HUGE deal to me and I’ll be running out to grab my iPad this weekend!

To hear more about what this launch means and why it’s a game changer …

Watch my reaction and subscribe to our channel to keep updated and catch a glimpse of the official unboxing.