Here at Circa, we’re always curious to see how we can improve our practices as a Studio — and sometimes, that comes in unexpected ways. Last month we learned about intellectual property and trademark law — and how we can improve our process using the helpful tips Maria shared. Last week our guest, Jennifer Rusie, opened our eyes to a whole new aspect of law: digital accessibility. A fact that we love to share is that our office here in Nashville is actually an ADA-accessible apartment. Jennifer helped us understand that ADA-accessibility isn’t just something we should pay attention to in physical spaces, but it is also an important factor in the online world. Coming into Circa armed with powerpoint print-outs, Jennifer gave us an abundance of information on Website Accessibility.
Digital accessibility is ensuring people with disabilities have access to technology. Jennifer outlined that accessibility, in a historical context, meant physical access to buildings. In a current context this extends to include digital access to websites.
The talk made us aware of all the things to keep in mind about handicap accessible digital spaces:
For the Visually Impaired - Is the site coded so that a screen reader can read text and images in a way that the “user” can understand? For example, with image descriptions, or alt text for images.
For the Hearing Impaired - If there are videos on the site, and can they be read with subtitles?
Low Vision - is there enough color contrast on the website? Would someone with low vision be able to read the text?
Dexterity - would the user be able to access the page with limited dexterity?
Epilepsy - is there flashing content on the site that would affect someone with epilepsy?
Jennifer also gave us some great resources:
Accessibility matters in physical spaces that are places of public accommodation. But, if a store has an e-commerce site, it also needs to be accessible. This made us think - how can a studio like Circa make sure that we’re accessible? The first thing we can do is to keep these accessibility tips in mind when we’re designing a website for a client. An accessibility disclaimer on a website can also be a good way to stay transparent on the web and provide a resource for users. We can also run scans on our completed projects and check our work against the standards on www.wc3.org.
Thank you to Jennifer Rusie for informing us of accessibility on the web!
What is Lunch & Learn?
At Circa, we have a bold understanding that education never just stops after college. This has been the motivation for our new series: Lunch & Learn. Every month we will have lunch with some of the brightest people in the creative field ranging from painters to SEO masters; and poke their brains to get a better understanding of the world and our role as visual communicators.
Jennifer joined Ogletree Deakins in 2006 after practicing in the area of general commercial litigation, and now represents management in the area of labor and employment law with an emphasis on employment litigation. Jennifer is a frequent speaker on topics relating to all types of employment issues and works with clients on preventive strategies to avoid discrimination, retaliation and other employment claims.