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No one left behind

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You should not only familiarize yourself with those standard practices but internalize them and make them habitual. Better yet, incorporate them directly into your governance models to ensure compliance across your entire enterprise. Not only do they make life easier for those with accessibility needs, but for all users. And if you work for the U.S. government or many other government agencies around the world, WCAG compliance is mandated by law.

Here’s something you can do that will help you to better understand the guidelines. Ask a physically disabled person who uses a computer for work to give you a brief “day in the life” tour of their world, including everything from filling out their timesheet to ordering lunch to scheduling meetings.

If you have any role at all in developing or implementing online training, ask them about their best and worst experiences in that regard. You’ll likely find out how much pain and frustration they go through when taking an online course that’s not WCAG-compliant. On the positive side, you’ll be inspired by their tenacity, as well as the many clever workarounds they’ve come up with to help them perform as seamlessly as possible in a world filled with built-in barriers.

You can also check out this brief, four-minute video by W3C. Notice that it has a “slower” button to reduce speed, a “CC” button for closed captioning and a transcript viewer. W3C practices what it preaches.

Building an enterprise of the future means impacting in a positive way as many people as possible. As KM’ers, we need to make sure that no one is excluded from the ever-increasing number of opportunities to learn, contribute and grow. As Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and internet pioneer, puts it: “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

Keep in mind that in all likelihood, someone with a disability, whether they are a customer, supplier or potential employee, will come into contact with one or more of your online platforms. How many opportunities are you missing because of a negative online experience you are creating by not incorporating very basic features? Are you even thinking about whether your online platforms might be excluding people with conditions such as photosensitivity?

As we move toward a world of 8 billion connected minds, let’s not forget the nearly 1 billion people who are in some way being kept out of the mainstream for lack of a few, simple, easy-to-add features.

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