Imagine driving your car down a street you’ve never taken before and finding that you’re unable to read any of the signage. Street signs. Billboards. Business names. Completely indecipherable. Maybe they’re in a font that’s so small you wouldn’t be able to see it if your face was inches from the sign.
Or they use green letters on a green background. Whatever the reason for the signs being unreadable, the fact is, this street is effectively off limits to you.
This is the type of frustrating scenario that people with certain disabilities face when using software or visiting a website that isn’t ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. And it’s the reason that at Mazévo, we designated the full accessibility of our offerings—including our room scheduling solution, its knowledge base, and our website—as a top priority the day we started coding.
Why Make Systems and Websites Accessible?
The short answer to the question, “Why make systems and websites fully accessible to people with disabilities?” is that, of course, it’s simply the right thing to do. However, that position has legal backing as well.
Enacted in 1990, the ADA is a civil rights law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities. It provides the same types of protections as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and other characteristics.
The ADA has multiple “titles” or sections, each focused on a specific area like employment, public entities and transportation, and telecommunications. One of the directives in the legislation is that any entity that accepts money from the federal government must make its information technology (IT) systems accessible to people with disabilities.
It’s important to note that in this context, “accessible” doesn’t just mean that people with disabilities can “get to” the technology or the information it contains. In order for a system to be considered accessible, people with disabilities must be able to use it as effectively as people without disabilities.
Accessibility and the Latest Mazévo Release
As we noted in a recent email, the latest release of Mazévo has accessibility improvements that, while not visible to users by default, will make the system much easier to navigate for people who rely on assistive technology like screen readers and alternative input devices. These enhancements are just part of our ongoing focus on helping people have a positive experience with our system.
For example, for individuals who are color-blind, the system uses text labels as another way to identify color-coded items. Similarly, people who aren’t able to manipulate a mouse effectively can still operate the system using arrow and tab keys on the keyboard.
Like designing software, accessibility is a journey and not a destination. There is no such thing as being "done" with accessibility. We know that absolutely every feature in the system is not as accessible as it can be today, but we continue to devote extensive resources to enhancing functions that can be improved. And we continue to look for solutions that benefit both people who have disabilities and those who don't.
For instance, video is a great medium for demonstrating how to use Mazévo. However, it’s not ideal for everyone. Some people with disabilities want or need a written transcript of videos, and providing it to them also benefits people who don’t have disabilities but who would prefer to skim a transcript for the information they need rather than watch a video.
Mazévo: Incorporating Accessibility From the Ground Up
As a software company, there are two ways to look at accessibility. You can see it as a burden and resist it, or you can see it as an opportunity and embrace it. We have no way of knowing how many people with disabilities use our systems, but our goal and unwavering commitment is that every one of them finds Mazévo welcoming, intuitive, and fully accessible.
If you have questions about Mazévo and our strategy for maximizing the system’s accessibility, please contact us at your convenience.