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Together, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Reward Gateway created an accessible discount platform to ensure individuals with vision impairments could fully and independently utilize all services.
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Web accessibility means giving people with disabilities a seamless experience in the digital world, allowing them to navigate, understand, use and contribute to the web. RNIB employs a significant percentage of employees with visual impairments and as such, accessibility is important to them, so that all of their employees can access their content and benefits, despite any disabilities they may have to overcome. When websites, applications, technologies, or tools are not designed with this audience in mind, they can create barriers.
Visual disabilities range from mild or moderate and can include photo or light sensitivity, color blindness or the inability to read certain colors of text against screen backgrounds. Screen readers are especially helpful for people with visual impairments as it pertains to loss of sight, however, they require websites to include functionality like ALT tags for images to allow people with visual impairments to properly navigate the site and understand what’s on the screen.
For other visual impairments like color blindness or sensitivity to light, web designers and developers need to make sure websites have adequate color contrast limits. If someone is blind or has low vision, they may have technology that helps them “read” the text and images on the page, but again, if a website isn’t coded or designed with accessibility in mind, the technology won’t be able to decipher the site’s content, making it that much harder for the individual to engage with a brand digitally.
RNIB needed to achieve full accessibility on their online portal and enable users to search for content relevant to their needs and access benefits and discounts, regardless of their visual acuity.
Working with RNIB to work towards these goals, Reward Gateway initiated accessibility testing to determine the best fit solutions to enable users to search for content relevant to their needs, navigate the benefits offered on the platform, and utilize discounts, in keeping with both organizations’ values of accessible design.
Reward Gateway prides itself on building products that are as inclusive, legible and readable as possible, and focuses on doing so even if it means sacrificing the “elegance” of the user experience. After all, the brand is building for needs, not audiences, and designing for all employees, not just the ones who are used to using the web. Oftentimes, the people who most need these products are those who find them hardest to use.
While improvements and fixes to online accessibility provide a huge value to those with disabilities, Reward Gateway also sees it as a way to make products easier to use for everyone.
Throughout this process, Reward Gateway and RNIB ensured that:
When a website is built to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines, the reality is that it allows people with disabilities, who use assistive technology like screen readers, to seamlessly navigate the website.
These accessibility statements were integral to RNIB’s mission, making disabled visitors feel welcomed online, underlying RNIB’s commitment to making resources available to everyone. Furthermore, they provided individuals with information about the accessibility of content and defined alternatives to gain access — such as by contacting the organization — and plans for resolution. Ultimately, the collaborative efforts of Reward Gateway and RNIB demonstrate both organizations’ commitment to social responsibility.
“We are beyond grateful to have access to a discount portal that everyone can enjoy,” said Matthew Niyazi, Reward Officer, RNIB. With 12 million disabled people living in the UK, it’s just not good enough that over 70% of UK websites do not meet accessibility standards. This is another step towards web inclusivity.”
Sevil Rahimova, Head of Product at Reward Gateway, echoes this sentiment. “Inclusivity is part of our Product Manifesto at Reward Gateway, supporting our objective to become the most inclusive employee engagement platform in the world. All of our product designers, developers, and quality assurance specialists work to ensure every product and site meets accessibility standards. Our work with RNIB truly put our skillsets to the test. We are so proud of this collaborative step towards accessibility.”