Better Accessibility starts with mailto30 Dec 2019
Accessibility is strictly about providing access. If we want customer success we need to give customers support. Give all your customers a path to support and you’ll learn a lot.
Support is at the frontlines of access and success in digital products. This is where you’ll learn about your customers’ issues, including those related to accessibility. The most important thing you can do on your path to access and inclusion is to make support services accessible. Support is your feedback loop, and a lifeline for people with disabilities.
You should evaluate your existing support platform, but the simplest thing you can do is provide an email address for support.
- Make the address obvious and easy to find.
- You may want a separate “access@” address that gets automatically labelled.
- Keep the issues in a common support queue.
Once you have an accessible support mechanism, start labelling historical issues related to access and inclusion. Be creative with search terms, people might not be explicit about their disability or assistive technology. Look for patterns and common complaints. This backlog of messages with help you capture and prioritize improvements and fixes, and also help train support staff. Some keywords to look for:
- “screen reader”, “JAWS”, “blind”, “switch access”, “keyboard”, “captions”
- “illegible”, “can’t read”, “can’t hear”, “low contrast”, and “confusing”.
Do your job
Do not give up on providing access. Provide a path to engineering escalation. Get on the phone or screen share if you need to. As these cases come up you’ll find more efficient ways to document and fix issues. You’ll also have a better idea of how to prioritize issues as you build your product. Some tips:
- Have internal documentation on workarounds to common accessibility issues while you work on a fix.
- Research disability etiquette.
- Include these issues in your SLA metrics.
When you give your customers a voice, they’ll tell you what they need. Now go do it!