The 2019 Amplify Austin‘s campaign “I live here, I give here” is just around the corner. As I wrote last year, it‘s a fantastic campaign. A campaign that raises a lot of money for many nonprofits. It‘s also a campaign that excludes people with disabilities.
Last year’s decision not to participate
Last year, I wrote about the reasons why Knowbility chose not to take part. In short, the campaign‘s website wasn‘t accessible. This means that the nearly 25% of the adult US population who lives with a disability might be blocked from participating in the campaign.
Conversations following last year’s post
Last year‘s post outlining the lack of accessibility upset people involved with the campaign, including Amplify’s CMS provider. They told us they had spent considerable time and resources to make Amplify Austin’s site “as accessible as possible.” They committed to improving accessibility. We have been informed that Amplify Austin is no longer working with this provider!
Fast forward to this week. We were informed by Amplify Austin that the event is right around the corner. At Knowbility, we wondered whether or not to participate this year. I ran a quick spot check of the campaign’s site for accessibility, and the results were dismal.
In less than 15 minutes I identified 10 issues that would make it difficult for individuals with disabilities to participate.
Animation on the home page
Last year, there was a carousel that couldn’t be paused or stopped. They replaced the carousel by a large video that autoplays, with no way to stop the animation. This will have a significant impact on people who have ADHD, or people with Traumatic Brain Injuries, among others.
Focus not visible
It is not possible to see focus on any of the links or interactive elements. This means sighted keyboard-only users will have great difficulty navigating the different elements on a page and being able to activate a link with any certainty of where the link will take them.
Poor color contrast
Many elements have poor color contrast, including text over images, and links. Some links are grey on white background. Other links have sufficient contrast until hovered. People with low vision will have difficulty with these. People navigating the site on their mobile devices will also struggle.
Multiple “learn more” links
There are multiple links with the same text (learn more), but different destination. The text “learn more” does not clearly indicate the link’s destination. This is not a major issue when there’s only one, but when there are several like that on the page, it becomes difficult to easily tell where a link goes. A sighted user can glimpse at the surrounding content and quickly know what the link is about. A screen reader user will have to navigate above and below the link to try and determine its destination.
No captions on video
There’s a video on the homepage. It has no open or closed captions. This video is hosted on Vimeo, a platform that allows the addition of a caption file. People with hearing impairments will not be able to get anything from that video. People watching the video on their mobile device in the bus will also likely have a hard time.
Input fields without labels
There are several forms and input fields on the different pages. They do not have labels. Screen reader users may have difficulty understanding what is the purpose of the input field. Speech-input users (e.g. Dragon Naturally Speaking) may have difficulty directing the software to interact with these fields.
Hover only events
Some elements that appear on mouse hover are not available on keyboard focus. This means sighted keyboard-only users won’t get all the information about a link or element before activating it.
Resize breaks layout
When resizing the site to 200%, the layout breaks and it becomes difficult to read the page. Many people with low vision increase the size of the text. They don’t need other accommodations, just resizing text. A lot of people working at a computer all day, every day, also enjoy being able to increase font size to make things easier to read.
Who’s job is it?
The responsibility for accessibility goes to a lot of people or organizations, including the CMS provider. They must make their system accessible. But the CMS is only one part of the problem with accessibility. Ultimately Amplify Austin is responsible. They have always been pleasant when we raised the issues. They’ve repeatedly assured us they were working on it.
Amplify Austin needs to be held accountable.
They moved from a vendor that committed themselves to improving accessibility to another one that has apparently made no effort in that direction. This seems to indicate that Amplify Austin has no real desire to ensure accessibility of their campaign.
They should have insisted that the new system is accessible if they truly understood and cared about accessibility.
One would hope that an organization working on fundraising for nonprofit organisations would insist on rolling out an accessible platform because it’s the right thing to do. But short of that, there are civil rights aspect of the ADA that could have motivated them to insist. Beyond that, there’s also a great business case for accessibility - it provides a good return on investment.
We were deeply disappointed to see that the Amplify Austin’s 2019 campaign I live here, I give here’s website is still not as accessible as it could be. It is with a heavy heart that Knowbility chooses once again to abstain from the “I live here, I give here” campaign because of the lack of accessibility for the site. Folks, we just can’t promote a campaign that excludes people with disabilities.