Screen reader users continue to ask why digital products are still missing their needs
When a customer uses their screen reader to read content from the web, challenges immediately begin upon entry:
- Screen reader doesn't announce a web page has completed its load
- Pressing TAB key on a user's keyboard to move focus onto the next clickable or focusable element while listening to silence
- Using keyboard sequence to search a web page for headings only to hear screen reader say, "No heading level found."
As growing frustration from users with disabilities community to why these 'simple' tasks are not being met by companies - the belief of intentional mishaps are no longer, but a clear understanding of systematic concern.
Currently, the process in building a digital product to meet users need on various devices (laptop, tablet, watch) is pretty straight forward:
- Product Team meets with Design Team to come up with a concept of a digital product
- Once Product Team agrees to the design, Product Team hand it off to a Team of Developers to build it
- Developers start building the digital product, but Developers a few to a lot of questions
- After a few to a lot of back and forth with what the expectations are of the Product Team, Developers complete the digital product
- Product Team will review digital product by sharing it with stakeholders (who are also invested in the product)
- When Product Team and stakeholders feel the digital product is ready to go live to customers, Product Team and stakeholders will sign offs
Seems simple, right? Well, it actually is that simple. Now, the issue in this process is 'stakeholders'. Who are they?Do they represent me?
Good question and the quick and easy response: stakeholders are people who may or may not represent a group of customers. The one area that tends to be left out is accessibility. During the initial review of design, did the Product Team ask for a concept with accessibility in mind? If not, then the slippery slope of building an inaccessible product will hit the consumer market.