DevOps

IBM contributing back to the community on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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Today is the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Over the years, IBM has held numerous events and activities to bring awareness to the digital access and inclusion of people with disabilities internally at IBM and externally. It is more critical than ever to blend the technical aspects of creating accessible solutions with the empathy needed to create inclusive experiences.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo. The letters GAAD inside of a keyboard chord with the keyboard on the bottom.

How is IBM making a difference?

On May 18, we publicly released two new resources the IBM Equal Access Toolkit and the  IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker.

The IBM Equal Access Toolkit delivers a wealth of phase-based guidance for all members of a team creating a user-facing technology offering That guidance removes the industry jargon and provides short snippets of advice. Tasks are prioritized based on maximum impact. Please take a look at Bo Campbell’s excellent blog on Medium about the Toolkit  and scaling enterprise accessibility:  Accessible Design Thinking in the Enterprise World.

The IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker is part of an open suite of automation tools. It is a browser extension that allows anyone to evaluate a web-based component or solution for accessibility issues. The extension showcases two views that allow the user to understand the potential accessibility violations in their solutions.  It offers explanations and suitable fixes right within the tool, and easy ways to map from issues to code, and back. Please take a look at the article I wrote about this for the IBM Developer Blog.

And its free for anyone

Knowledge, discipline, and tools are all essential to building in accessibility throughout a solution’s lifecycle. Without these key factors, accessibility can be forgotten or left until too late in the process when it is difficult to retrofit.  At that point, teams can get overwhelmed around where to start and as a result may never even begin the process. We are trying to break that practice by bringing everyone to the table, making it clear where responsibilities lie, and giving them a way to tackle tasks. Targeted guidance reduces the time that teams spend on accessibility by giving them just the information they need to make progress without being overwhelmed.

IBM is uniquely positioned to bring these offerings to the market

These solutions weren’t created in a vacuum. They were created by an amazing team based on their 100+ years in the accessibility space, their work with over 3000 IBM products, and numerous IBM client engagements. There are too many credits to include but please look at the CVs for folks like Shari Trewin, Phill Jenkins, Mary Jo Mueller, Michael Gower, Marc Johlic, Sharon Snider, Bo Campbell, and Tom Brunet. The combination of White House Appointments, leadership roles in professional societies and conferences and W3C Working Groups Task Forces led is just amazing. I consider myself very lucky every day when I get a chance to come to work and learn from these folks. Just take a look at some of the amazing presentations that they were going to deliver at this year’s CSUN conference.

Find out more

I’d encourage others to try this guidance as well as these tools from ibm.com/able and give us some feedback. Together we will help to build a product culture that embraces and values digital inclusion and accessibility.

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