Equality through Abilityforce – Everyone Counts

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21
Jan

Equality through Abilityforce – Everyone Counts

Posted by Aiswarya Hariharan

For any person to feel included in society could be challenging, given their behavior and conduct, people tend to be judgmental with even the slightest deviance. It’s only human nature to feel so. But in the Salesforce Ohana, we put family above everything and inspired us to do more for people who are differently abled. This year Salesforce developed practices and technologies that will help in inclusivity of disabled persons and empower them by reaching content to them. The effort is not only to capacitate customers and employees in terms of product perception and developments, but make them a part of Dreamforce ’18, without any hindrances.
CHALLENGES OF COMPLETE AND EQUAL ACCESSIBILITY
Accessibility can be understood by seeing if everyone is able to comprehend and reciprocate to the content put forth, be it for an employee or a customer. It is the ability for people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to any application. One thing we can do to ensure equality is include such additional attributes for accessibility in the initial development itself, rather than making changes at a later point. This could be challenging because the difficulty faced by each person could be different, like blindness being partial, complete or color blindness; or a temporary disability like a broken arm. To achieve absolute accessibility can be quite the task considering the possibility of any such bias being missed while developing such content; for example, hindrance faced by people with poor vision(visibility) is not the same as a person with a cast around their arms (mobility).
Body’s disabilities must never hinder the capabilities of someone’s mind and they must be given an opportunity to exercise their full potential in their work. Salesforce is committed to making the working environment and technological infrastructure favorable for people with disabilities. It was achieved through some empirical practices and additional coding with the help of Lightning Base Components and the Lightning Design System that works best for developing accessibility.
APPLICATION FOR ACCESSIBILITY
A significant part of the population is impaired and governments and international bodies are acting in favor of it by setting various accessibility standards and regulations. To start with, you can consider the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/) that recommends accessibility for disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photo-sensitivity and combinations of these. “WCAG states that accessible content must respect four types of guidelines. Content must be *perceivable*, *operable*, *understandable*, and *robust*.” – articulates Philippe Ozil, a Developer Evangelist at Salesforce in his blog.
Content is made perceivable when it is presented in a way that can be discerned or visible to every person. Practically it can be attained by adding a textual description of an image to the screen to help the readers. Another important exclusion could be unfavorable color palette. Salesforce Lightning Design System (https://www.lightningdesignsystem.com/guidelines/color) (SLDS) already has a fully accessible colour palette, but even otherwise, it can be included with available online tools. Operability is in tune with an individual’s restricted by mobility, for instance not being able to use a keyboard – such actions can be replaced with features like voice control through appropriate HTML coding with the right semantic meaning. Applications are understandable when they are easily comprehended or interpreted leaving no room for ambiguity – it will help users to avoid and correct mistakes. To start off, you can provide label tags for each input assistive technologies that can be presented in the user interface like screen readers. Other practices include using distinct id value, replacing the HTML elements with Lightning Base Components or to place input links with an error message or help link with ‘aria-described’ attribute. Creating robust content asserts its foundational quality. Attention can be paid to avoid duplicate attributes for a given tag unless it is allowed in its specification, use unique id attribute values and to properly place opening and closing tags for your elements, all with the assistance of IDE.
More than a benign gesture, equality is an important factor to encourage and empower customers and employees to involve more in operations because their output is just as prolific as anyone else’s.
ABOUT ABILITYFORCE: HOW EQUALITY WAS ACHIEVED AT DREAMFORCE ’18
Abilityforce is an affinity group of extremely talented individuals with disability accessibility in products and workplaces through creative methods. They advocate for equality and offer best practices and innovative solutions for impaired employees and customers and make content accessible to them and form allies to cater to each other.
Dreamforce ’18 was a platform to put this into full force yet again. There were rest stops installed throughout the campus. Volunteers were appointed at information desks to accommodate all kinds of onsite requirements. There were 50 volunteers present around the campus with special abilityforce logo t-shirts to engage, escort and guide such disabled persons. The breakout sessions had special seats reserved prioritizing them and to make them extremely comfortable. There were also adorable guide dogs around the campus to help in movement and directions. Other facilities like wheelchairs and unigrams were also provided. ASL interpreters were present throughout the campus and at all breakout sessions and there was also the usage of the ava app for persons with auditory impairments. Recording of live sessions with closed caption was also made available for later review. They could also request for special attention at registration counters or by clicking dreamforce help in the dreamforce app.
The aim was to create a resource group to shelter the needs of impaired customer to provide a meaningful solution for their organisation. Special spots were allowed for engaging such customers and interested people exclusively. Dreamforce ’18 was about celebrating abilityforce and bringing everyone together and to encourage and inspire everyone to thrive above any impediments and challenges. Thanks to Salesforce and Abilityforce for actualizing accessibility and equality for everyone.