Organizations of every size and across all industries are becoming more aware of the need to provide accessible experiences for their users. And for good reason; companies that build accessibility into their digital products reach a wider audience, deliver more usable interfaces and navigation, and gain a competitive edge.
The more people who adopt, enjoy, and continue to use your software applications, the better your overall business outcomes, from revenue to retention.
However, for those organizations in the federal government and public sectors, accessibility isn’t just “the right thing to do” — it’s a legal imperative.
What the law says
Companies operating in the public sector are held to high standards of accessibility. Their teams must create digital experiences that meet the stringent compliance standards outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their websites and other digital information (such as training materials, employee documents, etc.) accessible to people with disabilities.
In addition, President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce aims to improve and codify federal employment practices around DEIA. More specifically, the order “establishes a government-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all parts of the Federal workforce.” It also “charges key agencies, including the Department of Labor and the U.S. Access Board, to coordinate across the Federal government to ensure that all Federal workplaces and technologies are fully accessible.”
For many federal government agencies and public sector organizations, these technologies include Salesforce. While the Salesforce platform can serve as a strong foundation for building a variety of applications, it often requires modifications to provide an intuitive, easy-to-use, and accessible experience.
Making Salesforce accessible with Skuid
At Skuid, we have deep experience with and expertise around Salesforce and its specific challenges and quirks. We’ve worked with federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (work for which we were recognized at the Salesforce Partner Innovation Awards) and the U.S. Department of the Air Force. By partnering with Skuid, both organizations achieved 508 compliance while also providing excellent UX within their Salesforce-based applications. And recently, Skuid was named to the Carahsoft ITES-SW2 contract to support U.S. Army digital transformation goals.
So, how exactly does Skuid help public sector organizations deliver intuitive, inclusive, and accessible digital experiences? Below, we’ll go through a few of the ways Skuid makes it possible and even easy to do so — all with little to no code.
Support for key 508 compliance functionality
Skuid supports critical sections of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT™), the federal documentation that describes how information and communication technologies meet 508 compliance standards. That means any app built in Skuid will have certain accessibility functionality baked in.
For example, any Skuid app will work with a screen reader and can be navigated with just a keyboard. The color contrast will be sharp enough, and any labels will be clear and large enough to read. A full list of related capabilities around accessibility can be found in our documentation.
Focus on human-centered design
At Skuid, we believe that software should work the way people do, not the other way around. That’s why we embrace human-centered design, the mindset and process that places the user at the center of every decision.
A fully-accessible application is useless if no one adopts it. And believe it or not, poor adoption usually isn’t due to an aversion to change. If a new app helps people do their job faster or simply works better, most users will be perfectly willing to make a change. Human-centered design aims to deliver apps that people want to use again and again. That means frictionless experiences (no unnecessary clicks or logins), clear menus and navigation, and a clean, cohesive look and feel.
With Skuid, you can create digital experiences that follow the principles of human-centered design, delivering an end result that is more usable for everyone, regardless of their abilities or preferences.
Experience updating and improving legacy systems
Many federal government agencies work with older systems and data sets to build their Salesforce apps. Fortunately, using Skuid doesn’t require tossing out existing platforms or software tools. In most cases, Skuid can create or improve usability directly on top of the experiences your users or constituents are already interacting with.
For example, the U.S. Department of the Air Force (DAF)’s Manpower, Personnel, and Services Air Staff had mission-critical systems in place since the 1970s. They’d since been moved to the cloud, but the user experience remained poor and search didn’t work properly. By working with Skuid, the department was able to update its employee portal and create an intuitive and accessible experience for its over 300,000 active personnel.
No matter the systems you’re currently using, Skuid can help you make the most of what’s working well and update what could use improvement.
Combining accessibility with best-in-class UX
With Skuid, federal agencies and public sector organizations can deliver accessible, well-designed, and delightful experiences to their users. While 508 compliance might seem challenging, our capabilities can help you achieve it and any other goals around inclusivity and usability. And you can do it all without custom code.
Learn more about 508 compliance and why it matters.