Product Update: Foleon Docs Are Now More Accessible Than Ever

By Dennis Looijenga

Product Update: Foleon Docs Are Now More Accessible Than Ever

At Foleon, we take great pride in developing a platform that empowers businesses to easily create engaging content experiences that look great on any device. What’s even more important, however, is making that content accessible to anyone. That’s why we’ve launched a series of improvements that make Foleon Docs more accessible than ever.

About 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. These include visual, cognitive, auditory, physical, and speech disabilities, which make performing certain actions or interacting with the world — whether online or offline — more difficult for disabled people.

To combat this, laws and guidelines have been set in place to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. For web content, the most important guidelines are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which were introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1999 to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. 

With its latest version (2.1) being published in June 2018, these guidelines have evolved since their inception and are now adopted and recognized internationally. As a result, other governmental policies related to accessibility are often based on (or refer to) the WCAG. Among others, this includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (508) which both apply in the United States of America and the Web and Mobile Accessibility Directive that applies for the European Union.

In short, WCAG is based on 4 main principles that require web content to be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

WCAG

There are several guidelines (or success criteria) that address each principle. If you want to learn more about them, visit W3C’s website: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

 

Foleon and accessibility

Accessibility guidelines like WCAG live at the very core of our platform. Foleon Docs are built with standard programming languages that were developed specifically with accessibility in mind (e.g. HTML5 and CSS). Additionally, we’ve adopted all best practices regarding accessibility by allowing our users to use headings to indicate the hierarchy of text, set alt tags to describe imagery, set the language of a Foleon Doc so that screen readers can properly interpret content, and much more.

To further improve the accessibility of Foleon Docs, we teamed up with Dutch digital accessibility experts Cardan Technobility to perform WCAG 2.1 (AA-level) audits on Foleon Docs to see how we’re complying with these important accessibility guidelines.

“Foleon takes accessibility very seriously. Collaboratively, we’ve assessed the accessibility of content created with Foleon. It was great to see that most elements already met the accessibility requirements. The areas that left room for improvement were addressed by Foleon accordingly and resulted in a series of additional improvements. If you’re looking to create accessible content experiences, Foleon allows you to do so.”

logo-cardan-technobility

How we made Foleon Docs more accessible

Based on the findings, we made a number of changes to further improve the accessibility of Foleon Docs:

1. Improved keyboard accessibility

Keyboard accessibility is one of the most important aspects of web accessibility. People with visual or physical disabilities often rely on their keyboard to navigate through websites. In most cases, this involves using the Tab key to jump from one interactive element to the next (e.g. text links, buttons, form fields, etc.).

foleon-keyboard-accessibility

We’ve launched several improvements in this area. Previously, when using the Tab key to navigate through a Foleon Doc, elements that had “keyboard focus” (a visual indicator that highlights the selected element on the page) weren’t indicated clearly enough.

With this issue resolved, Foleon Docs are now easier to navigate using only your keyboard.

2. Screen reader optimizations

Screen readers are a form of assistive technology that’s essential to blind individuals, as well as useful to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. Screen readers attempt to convey what's on a website to their users via non-visual means, such as converting text to speech.

foleon-screen-reader-compatibility

We made several changes to hotspots, access control pages, images, videos, and forms to make Foleon Docs more compatible with screen reader software.

3. Better color contrasting

Contrast and color use is vital to accessibility. Enough contrast between a piece of text and its background is necessary to make the text readable for people with moderately low vision.

foleon-color-contrasting

To take this into account, we redesigned certain features of Foleon Docs that can’t be styled manually: the pages and editions overview (accessible via the navigation bar), the cookie consent modal, and the email icon in our social share element.

Updating your Foleon Docs

If you (re)published your Foleon Doc(s) after April 10, 2020, it will already contain these accessibility-related improvements. If you’ve published it before that date, make sure to republish them for improved accessibility.

Want to read about the changes in more detail? Read our release notes for version 1.5.100 and 1.5.200.

 

Tips for creating accessible Foleon Docs

Creating accessible web content is not purely technical. Most of the work actually lies in making your content accessible. Here are a few practical tips you should keep in mind:

  1. Use headings correctly to organize the structure of your content.
  2. Include proper alt text for images.
  3. Give your links unique and descriptive names.
  4. Provide text alternatives for audio and video content.
  5. Design your forms for accessibility.

Do you want to learn more about creating accessible Foleon Docs? Please read our extensive Help Center article: Creating accessible Foleon Docs. This article covers the tips above in detail and also lists other things you should keep in mind.

Additionally, as a service, we now also offer accessibility checks. With this check, we’ll run through your Foleon Doc and will give you practical tips to further improve your content. We can also connect you with expert companies (like Cardan) that perform accessibility audits. If you’re interested in this, please contact our support team at support@foleon.com.

 

Conclusion and next steps

With these improvements, we’ve made a big step towards better accessibility. We’ve committed ourselves to continuously improve the accessibility of Foleon Docs by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and will continue to do so by taking these guidelines into consideration with every new feature we launch.

Want to learn how Foleon empowers you to create accessible content?

Request a demo

If you have feedback or questions regarding this update, feel free to let us know by reaching out to our support team at support@foleon.com. We’re all ears!

Dennis Looijenga

Dennis is the Head of Customer Marketing at Foleon. His sole mission is to create happy, successful customers.

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