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Today Salesforce celebrates the ninth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day committed to making websites and software fully accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.
While web accessibility has always been important, it’s even more critical this year, as more people than ever are working from home and relying on virtual interactions. With the unemployment rate for disabled individuals being twice that of the non-disabled population, there’s no room for exclusion — it’s our responsibility to help raise awareness and close the gap.
At Salesforce, this is all part of our broader commitment to accessibility and belief that we can be the world’s most accessible company and #1 ranked employer for people with disabilities.
The accessibility gap is large
The World Health Organization estimates that 15% of the world’s population (around 1 Billon people) have a disability, a number that is growing everyday. In the US, about 1 in 4 people have a disability.
With technology a key lifeline for employment and social interaction, accessibility is more important than ever. However, most websites aren’t accessible to all. Following the guidelines that define standards for website accessibility (WCAG 2.0), WebAIM’s annual analysis of one million home pages found that 98.1% home pages had at least one failure and an an average of 60.9 errors per home page. Even with our own focus on accessibility, we recognize that we have work to do on our web properties. These issues directly impact the ability people with disabilities have to access job opportunities as well as completing a huge range of day-to-day tasks as more and more services move online.
Closing the gap
At Salesforce, we strive to be Trailblazers in ensuring accessibility, from our products to workplaces.
For nearly a decade, accessibility has been a key focus for our Product Accessibility Team at Salesforce and over the past few years this has expanded into other areas such as events and real estate. Last year, spearheaded by the grass roots efforts of Abilityforce, our employee resource group for people with disabilities and allies, we established the Office of Accessibility to double-down on this work, creating increased transparency and accountability.
At Salesforce, we recognize Global Accessibility Day as a chance to acknowledge how far we’ve come, but also all of the work that lies ahead.
Want to get involved? Here are some ways to get started today:
- Take the Get Started with Web Accessibility Trail where you can learn more about accessible Salesforce design, testing, and development best practices, as well as other resources to learn more.
- Learn about how to promote accessibility in the times of COVID with our recent Abilityforce Town Hall
- Consider donating to an organization that supports the disability community. On giving Tuesday, Abilityforce raised over 30k in employee donations and matching to the nonprofit Disability Right’s Fund whose mission strives to empower people with disabilities to advocate for equal rights and full participation in society.
- Find ways you can help people with disabilities find meaningful employment. The Office of Accessibility recently partnered with the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) to support their Salesforce Administration Certification Prep Course by providing certification and recertification vouchers along with a grant to fund the salaries for on the job training. Learn more here
- If your company offers self-ID, consider participating. This helps companies shape policies and benefits to support people with disabilities.
- Learn more about your company’s employee resource group for people with disabilities, attend one of their events, or start a group at your company, if one does not exist!
- There are many free and accessible events and activities for Global Accessibility Awareness Day to participate in this year.
Our ongoing journey
GAAD is one point on our accessibility journey. While we’re proud of our recognitions — last year Salesforce received a score of 100 on Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey and was named a 2019 Best Place to Work for Disability — we know there’s still more work to be done and we will all do our part to help us move forward.
Here are some of the efforts to promote and support accessibility in our products and spaces:
- Launched an internal Accessibility Champion program to raise awareness and provide a pathway to learn about accessible design and development for members of our technical organization.
- Added a new Designing for Web Accessibility module to our, “Get Started with Web Accessibility” Trail.
- Offered more accessibility-related sessions then ever before at Dreamforce 2019 with the first curated accessibility journey for attendees to participate in. You can check out some of our favorite sessions here.
- Created a demo video of using Service Cloud with a screen reader, showing our accessibility features in action.
- Over the last year, we have increased our investment in product accessibility. We have more than doubled the number of Accessibility Conformance Reports (VPATs) available on our product accessibility website, and hired new technical staff.
- Partnered with Disability:IN and other great companies to create the “Digital Accessibility and Other Best Practices for Remote Working” guide which helps ensure virtual meetings, events, and the resulting materials are accessible to everyone.
Find an answer in help: For general questions about accessibility features that affect end users, start by searching for an answer in our help documentation.
Report an issue: If you’ve found an accessibility issue you’d like to report or simply need additional user support, follow the appropriate steps to create a support case.
Check on Accessibility Status: The results of Salesforce product accessibility audits are available on our product accessibility status page.
Stay connected: Join in the conversation or start one on the Disability Topics group in the Trailblazing community.