Improving usability through accessibility conformance

Bineabi Akah, Manager, Experience Design /

OCLC is committed to inclusive design and, as part of that, accessible products for all. Throughout the modernization of WorldCat Discovery, we’ve paid particular attention to redesigning with an eye toward accessibility conformance and usability, because we know that a conformant experience does not always equate to a useable one. As accessibility standards mature and evolve, they are growing more inclusive and covering a wider range of protocols. As Manager of Experience Design, I am passionate about seeking the impact of accessibility and usability to ensure our users—both the libraries and groups using our services, as well as the students and patrons—benefit from a productive experience.

To elaborate, accessibility conformance means we have implemented and tested code to meet international accessibility guidelines, i.e. the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard. Accessibility usability means a real person dependent on assistive technologies or other external aides can complete tasks within our product because we used the guidelines as intended. Take for example this scenario: Buttons that are disabled don't need to follow the usual contrast color requirements from the WCAG guidelines. So you could use a disabled button and be considered as conforming to WCAG 2.1, but your real users may still struggle to operate the button for any number of reasons, such as not understanding why the button is disabled, not being able to see it, etc.

We continue to enhance WorldCat Discovery in ways that favor customization through configuration. For example, the June install enabled link color configuration separate from the color for the search and fulfillment buttons. We also confirmed initial support for Accessibility Insights for the Web, a tool empowering you to check conformance of your configuration decisions so you can make informed adjustments where needed. For current users, I invite you to head over to the WorldCat Discovery community where you can learn more about the impact of this enhancement, and register for an upcoming webinar where I will demonstrate use of the tool with WorldCat Discovery and offer suggestions for its effective use. 

Take me to the WorldCat Discovery community!