Even the best digital content matters little if no one can actually access it. What seems like a self-evident statement becomes a crucial fact once you look beyond the obvious, and toward web accessibility.
Once you begin to consider your audience, you realize just how important accessibility has become in today's digital infrastructure. The aging population is expected to triple to 1.5 billion globally by 2050. The United States alone is home to 56 million people with a disability.
As a result, countless digital vendors claim to keep their audiences of all kinds in mind. But do they really? Lawsuits connected to web accessibility double every year, rising to more than 400 in the United States alone. If your digital presence doesn't acknowledge and account for that fact, you might be in trouble.
Fortunately, Concept3D is committed to accessibility. We recently received a comment that made us both proud and aware of the continuing importance of committing to this effort:
"Please pass along to your team that I think they have done and are continuing to do a fantastic job with creating a highly useable and accessible product. It is no small feat! I deal with a variety of vendors that claim to "know" and do accessibility, but I find with them that I am constantly point out their deficiencies, and further having to justify to them why something is an issue. Which is why it is truly a refreshing experience to deal with Concept 3D because the product starts out in a highly accessible state, but then issues that are surfaced are looked at and worked on as opposed to requiring in depth justification."
- Tim Raymond, Director of Campus and Web Applications, California State Polytechnic Universtity
How Concept3D Commits to Accessibility
First, the good: as this customer recognized, accessibility is near and dear to our hearts. That means committing to the basics; all of our campus and location maps include the requisite ALT text and code structure to accommodate visual or audio impairment.
Concept3D goes a step further, embracing the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) standards, a "set of attributes that define ways to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities." More specifically, every one of our maps is developed with the 2.0 standards.
In version 2.0, every interactive map is ARIA tagged to allow for greater accessibility. The update allows visually-impaired audiences to easily navigate throughout the map, even without using a full keyword. Through tab navigation, any user can find school landmarks, ADA accessible resources, and other features within the map. The result is a positive experience in virtually navigating through campus that is as flawless as it would be for any other user.
Areas of Improvement and Importance
Of course, nobody is perfect. As a society, we continually strive to improve the ways in which we define and optimize for accessibility. That process also occurs on a microlevel at Concept3D.
That's what sets Concept3D apart from other vendors. For us, laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are not the standard to strive for, but a minimum set of expectations. For our clients, we give them tool to hopefully not just comply with the law, but also meet and exceed ethical codes that encourage us to create a map and virtual tour experience as flawless and positive for everyone.
Campus ADA Accessibility for the Future
Version 2.0 of ARIA makes it simpler for any type of audience to utilize accessibility resources that they may not even have known were available before. Our maps can help them find ramps, elevators, and parking by tabbing through and hearing all the ARIA roles.
Instead of hearing only the function of each component they hear the role, predetermined additional information like the name or link to be followed. The Text-Only-Map (TOM) allows for visually-impaired students to navigate through the campus. That is compliant with any and all accessibility laws. Having an ADA compliant map will be in multifaceted tool for you to keep up with current times.
The possibilities of these updates are significant across industries. Colleges and universities are able to offer better, more comprehensive campus maps for students, parents, and alumni with disabilities. In an increasingly competitive enrollment and fundraising landscape, showcasing your campus to all types of audiences is only becoming more important.
Of course, the accessibility possibilities of Concept3D are not limited to campus maps. Hospitals and medical facilities inherently manage a larger portion of patients with disabilities than other industries. An accessible map can be crucial to improve patient satisfaction and ensure that every visitor gets where they need to be quickly and efficiently.
Accessibility matters across the digital landscape. But there are few areas in which it is more crucial than campus maps and tours, or any type of visual representation of your physical facilities. A vendor that understands this importance, and builds its platform around those needs, is crucial in making sure your online presence is inclusive. Contact Concept3D to help you campus become more accessible today!