Lola Olson is Digital Marketing and Content Manager at Scope, which means that web accessibility is their primary concern. Lola says “having an accessible website isn’t just nice to have, it’s something we need as a disability charity.” One of the tools Scope uses to ensure our website is accessible is Siteimprove.
For Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Lola interviewed Bryn Anderson, Customer Experience Manager from Siteimprove about accessibility.
Lola: What personal interest do you have in accessibility?
Bryn: I am a partial albino and very short sighted, which is common for albinos. I can’t drive or read the number on the bus. On the whole, it’s fine but sometimes 2D vision makes heading the ball on a Sunday afternoon an act of God. So I think it’s fair to say I have always been interested in accessibility.
In regards to using a computer, I use a large monitor shifting my upper body from left to right and back again, a bit like a windscreen wiper. But I didn’t even know about web accessibility until I applied for a job at Siteimprove! It’s pretty unbelievable considering I have a degree in Interactive Media Production.
Lola: What part does Siteimprove have to play in web accessibility?
Bryn: On one level, Siteimprove’s Accessibility tool monitors how accessible websites are. But the key aspect of our tool is being able to check websites from conception throughout their entire life.
People mistakenly think that web accessibility is a project – but it’s not. Redesigning your website is a project. Moving content over is a project. But accessibility is an ongoing project that has to be maintained. It’s not just about building layouts that are accessible, but also keeping track of content. And having a quality monitoring tool is integral to web accessibility.
Lola: What difference do you think accessibility makes to people using websites?
Bryn: Responsive designs are key for retaining information and a useable layout when zooming in, which I do a lot of. Sometimes when I zoom in things disappear. And you wouldn’t want that happening if you’re trying to book a flight or buy a train ticket!
And for anyone using a screen reader I can imagine that when people link text like “Read more” instead of “Accessibility blog” it creates a lot of problems. Those kind of links are as useless as a tube map of stops all called ‘station’… no thanks!
Lola: Is Siteimprove doing anything special for Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
Bryn: Yes we are! In collaboration with the Danish Association of the Blind, we’re organising a biking event in Copenhagen for the blind, partially sighted and sighted people alike on May 21. Participants will ride 100 tandem bicycles and afterwards the bikes will be donated to tandem clubs and people with visual impairments.
To learn more about Siteimprove and accessibility, visit Siteimprove’s website.