The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Reward Gateway have created a new accessibility platform offering discounts to ensure individuals with vision impairments can fully and independently use all services.
Web accessibility means giving people with disabilities a seamless experience in the digital world, allowing them to navigate, understand, use and contribute to the web. RNIB employs a significant percentage of employees with visual impairments, so accessibility is essential in giving all their employees access to their content and benefits, despite any disabilities they may have. When websites, applications, technologies, or tools are not designed with this audience in mind, they can create barriers.
Visual disabilities range from mild or moderate and can include photo or light sensitivity, colour blindness or the inability to read certain colours of text against screen backgrounds. Screen readers are especially helpful for people with visual impairments as it pertains to the loss of sight; however, they require websites to include functionality like ALT tags for images to allow people with visual impairments to properly navigate the site and understand what’s on the screen.
For other visual impairments like colour blindness or sensitivity to light, web designers and developers need to make sure websites have adequate colour contrast limits. If someone is blind or has low vision, they may have technology that helps them “read” the text and images on the page, but again, if a website isn’t coded or designed with accessibility in mind, the technology won’t be able to decipher the site’s content, making it that much harder for the individual to engage with a brand digitally.
The accessibility platform
The RNIB is working with Reward Gateway to achieve full accessibility on their online portal and enable users to search for content relevant to their needs and access benefits and discounts, regardless of their visual acuity.
This includes initiated accessibility testing to determine the best-fit solutions to enable users to search for content relevant to their needs, navigate the benefits offered on the platform, and use discounts, in keeping with both organisations’ values of accessible design.
Reward Gateway builds products that are as inclusive, legible and readable as possible. It focuses on doing so even if it means sacrificing the “elegance” of the user experience – building for needs, not audiences, and designing for all employees, not just the ones who are used to using the web.
Throughout this process, Reward Gateway and RNIB ensured that:
- Assistive technologies such as screen readers could be used
- The website could be accessed easily by keyboard-only users
- Font size and line-height was big enough
- Contrast ratio between text and background was high enough
- Products comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
When a website is built to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines, it allows people with disabilities, who use assistive technology like screen readers, to seamlessly navigate the website.
The accessibility platform is integral to RNIB’s mission to make disabled visitors feel welcomed online and underlines its commitment to making resources available to everyone. It also provides individuals with information about the accessibility of content and alternatives to gain access — such as by contacting the organisation —, and plans for resolution. These collaborative efforts of Reward Gateway and RNIB demonstrate both organisations’ commitment to social responsibility.
“We are beyond grateful to have access to a discount portal that everyone can enjoy,” said Matthew Niyazi, Reward Officer, RNIB. ”With 12 million disabled people living in the UK, it’s just not good enough that over 70% of UK websites do not meet accessibility standards. This is another step towards web inclusivity.”
Sevil Rahimova, Head of Product at Reward Gateway, echoes this sentiment: “Inclusivity is part of our Product Manifesto at Reward Gateway, supporting our objective to become the most inclusive employee engagement platform in the world. All of our product designers, developers, and quality assurance specialists work to ensure every product and site meets accessibility standards. Our work with RNIB truly put our skillsets to the test. We are so proud of this collaborative step towards accessibility.”