Tips for Talking to Superiors About Accessibility
As technology plays an increasingly large part in our daily lives, more people have become reliant on digital tools. However, people have diverse needs and abilities which must be considered. For this reason, it is crucial for companies and institutions to place an emphasis on increased accessibility. Digital accessibility is the process of making digital products easily usable by people who have disabilities or impairments. Whether a screen reader or a magnifying glass, accessibility tools are important in removing barriers that prevent equal access to services. Removing these barriers, creates an inclusive user experience which is beneficial for all. You can find out even more about the importance of accessibility here.
With this in mind, it is important for you to communicate the necessity of accessibility to your superiors. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be difficult. This article will outline how to broach your concerns.
Why is Digital Accessibility Important In The Workplace?
Ensuring universal access is in every companies’ best interests. Not only does it allow a wider audience to peruse your digital properties, but it also improves your reputation. Additionally, accessibility tools allow more diverse groups of people to apply for vacancies thereby providing you with the greatest talents. Moreover, your own current employees will also benefit greatly from accessibility policies. When you provide your employees with captions or other needed tools, they can achieve their full potential. Furthermore, in many countries, companies have legal obligations regarding accessibility and accommodation. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities.
Businesses aren’t the only workplaces where accessibility policies can make a difference. Although significant strides have been made by educational institutions regarding accessibility for students, often staff get overlooked. For teaching staff with disabilities, digital accessibility means that they can access a larger pool of resources. It also allows teaching staff to examine their students’ work with less difficulty and in greater detail.
Now that we have established the importance of accessibility in the workplace, you may still be wondering how to bring it up. Talking to your boss is often nerve-wracking but using four tips it can be a breeze.
1. Identify Key Areas of Concern
Solving a problem is much easier when you know what the problem is. Many decision makers are completely unaware of the importance of digital accessibility so they may struggle to understand the issue. This will make it difficult for them to address your concerns effectively. By pointing out exactly what is inaccessible, the organization will be able to find and solve it. Always include where the page is, what the problem is and your software when raising concerns.
2. Always Follow Up On Your Concerns
With all the correspondence that organizations receive on a daily basis, it is easy for your concerns to be missed. As things begin to pile up, emails will naturally fall to the bottom of the list. Following up on your concerns can help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. When you get back in touch, it communicates that the issue is still a cause for concern which will spur on the process. Additionally, following up sometimes means that your issues are seen by a pair of fresh eyes. This is helpful because other people may not be as busy and can help you instead. Keeping in touch means that your concerns will be kept at the top of the pile and resolved sooner rather than later.
3. Highlight The Impact of Digital Accessibility
It is much easier to sway your workplace’s higher powers by building a convincing case for accessibility. Apart from reminding them of their obligations under the ADA, examples may also be helpful.
For businesses, accessibility tools such as live captioning, video captioning and transcripts are invaluable. Employees with sensory issues may struggle to focus on the audio during meetings and webinars. If you provide them with live captions and transcripts, they will find it much easier to comprehend and internalize key points. This will eliminate much of the useless back and forth communication afterwards.
Similarly, speech-to-text services can help teachers with visual impairments access a greater variety of resources. This will of course also benefit the students who will then be able to gain better understanding of their subjects.
In this way, your higher-ups can see the benefits of accessibility and are much more likely to tackle accessibility needs within the organization.
4. Engage With Others In Your Workplace
You may find it helpful to enlist the help of likeminded people in your workplace. Raising your concerns as a group means that it is much more likely to catch the attention of your superiors. Furthermore, you may find that other colleagues are much more knowledgeable in certain areas or can better communicate the problem.
Advocate for Accessibility
You should now have an idea about how to advocate for accessibility in your workplace. Accommodation is a social responsibility so everyone should be involved. Many shy away from implementing digital accessibility due to cost and difficulty concerns. With Rev, this isn’t a problem. Our platform makes it easy and affordable to get transcripts, live captioning and other accessibility tools.