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Living Without Barriers: Accessibility and EventBuilder

October 27 2020 / by Karen Mares

Filed under: accessibility

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As we increasingly rely on the internet and computer technology to enhance our everyday lives, access for individuals with disabilities has become an integral part of the product design process for companies, and EventBuilder is no exception. After recent improvements, we are proud to share with you that our software is WCAG 2.0 AA-compliant for all Attendee-facing features. What does this mean? Your Attendees can access virtual events built with EventBuilder products barrier-free.

Access to the things we want and need in order to participate fully in our lives and world is something many of us take for granted. For example, if we can hear, we can watch streaming videos with sound. If we have full mobility of our hands, we can use a computer mouse.

First-Hand Experience

Karen Mares, (me!) and our CTO, Robin Houser, have first-hand experience with how important and deeply meaningful removing barriers can be. My daughter is hard of hearing, with single-sided deafness, and Robin's son has mobility limitations because of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Robin and I have often had conversations about how we've advocated for our children to help them access education, physical spaces, and more. Whenever we came across a situation where those obstacles were already removed, we were incredibly grateful, as were our kids. That thoughtful and forward-thinking design of products, environments, and buildings allowed them equitable access, regardless of their ability.

For Robin, having a child who needed to adapt his environment to perform everyday tasks brought out her family's ingenuity and problem-solving skills. For me, having a child with a hearing disability gave me the gift of seeing (and hearing!) the world through a lens that wasn't my own and deepened my understanding of how my daughter works with and around her hearing deficit. We both intimately understand some of the obstacles in the way of being able to fully participate in everyday experiences.

Inclusive Design

Robin and I both remember a Microsoft Xbox commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 2019, highlighting their adaptive gaming controller. Kids with a variety of disabilities were front and center, and the product's design made it possible for them to play. The tagline was, "When everybody plays, we all win." We love this perspective. Digging deeper into their Inclusive Design philosophy, we came to really appreciate Microsoft's approach:

Recognize exclusions people face - what's in the way?

Learn from their ingenuity and experiences - how do people adapt?

Embrace their constraints to innovate for all - how does this benefit everyone?

This approach to design can encompass both physical AND digital spaces. By centering the experiences of people with disabilities in the design process, we start to see a perspective we may not have considered and solve problems we may not have realized were there.

EventBuilder's Accessibility Improvements

Digital product designers should consider varying abilities that could affect access, including:

  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Cognitive
  • Mobility
  • Speech
  • Neurological

Drawing from our own personal experiences, as well as technical guidance from WCAG, Robin and her team prioritized the Attendee interface when making design and development changes to our software. They made changes to:

  • Ensure an accessible color palette
  • Increase contrast
  • Provide alt text for non-text elements
  • Make certain interactive elements are easily identifiable

We also added an additional option for Closed Captioning and gave Attendees the ability to customize their experience with Closed Captioning elements such as font size and screen contrast. 

By improving our software's accessibility, we also improved an Attendee's overall experience for a variety of situations and users.

Innovate For All

In the coming months, we will be expanding accessibility improvements to include our portals and website. Developing products with the principles of inclusive design provides everyone opportunities to embrace all the talent and innovation people with disabilities have to offer because the barriers to access have been removed. Having the improvements work for everyone in different settings is one way we can approach accessibility not as an interruption, but as an integral part of understanding the human experience, how we adapt to our environments, and how we build empathy for each other.

Customized Solutions For Your Attendees

We want you and your Attendees to have the best possible experience with us. If you need a customized accessibility solution for an Event, contact our Services team: services@eventbuilder.com and they will help you design an accessible event for your Attendee's needs.

 

Topics: accessibility

Karen Mares

About Karen Mares

Karen is an Event Producer and the Content Creator here at EventBuilder. She's also a wife, mom, singer, and history nerd.

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