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Accessibility Awareness Day at Collibra: Hands-on Training & Testing

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At Collibra, accessibility matters. Starting with the release of Data Governance Center 5.0, we have an official accessibility roadmap to make sure that people with disabilities can easily navigate to, interact with, and contribute to data governance information.

We introduced this roadmap because of our customer’s increased need for compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from W3C), but this will benefit all our users. For example, it also benefits older people with changing abilities caused by aging, as well as power users who love to use shortcuts and keyboard navigation. Last but not least, this will increase the overall quality of our software. The accessibility improvements will also lead to better semantic coding practices.

The first Collibra Accessibility Awareness Day

Today, May 18th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2017. This was the ideal opportunity for the Collibra User Experience team to organize an accessibility training and hands-on workshop. Our goal: to make the Collibra product management (PM), front-end development, and quality assurance (QA) teams more aware of the problems that people with a disability who use software face on a daily basis.

Braille sign pointing to the workshop location, and the accessibility awareness cards designed for this workshop

WCAG 2.0 encompass all disabilities that affect access to the web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. But for our first Collibra Accessibility Day, we decided to focus on three common disabilities that have a severe impact on software usage.

  • Minor physical impairments such as carpal tunnel syndrome (for which in the US 47% of cases are estimated to be work related)
  • Color blindness (important because deuteranopia, or red-green color blindness affects up to 8% of males and 0.5% of females of Northern European descent)
  • Partial visual impairment (over 13% of the world’s population has some degree of – sharpness, clarity, and/or vision loss)

Some sphere images from the Collibra accessibility day
Twenty product team members in our Brussels and Wroclaw offices were assigned one of these three disabilities, and set to work testing five usability scenarios. For example: creating a structured governance organization with assets and assigned responsibilities, exploring the new lineage diagrams interface, or following a course on Collibra University.

To make this as real as possible, we made use of system preferences and other software tools such as Color Oracle, a free colour blindness simulator. For example, a person with a motoric impairment might have a hard time using a mouse or trackpad, so we adjusted tracking speed to super slow, and switched the mouse hand from right to left.

We tracked the time to complete each task, and took thorough notes on what and where we can still improve. Our software was easiest to use for people with color blindness. The people testing for issues relating to physical impairment had the hardest time completing their tasks.

Of course, we had some non-product related exercises too. For example, we practiced how to spell ‘Collibra’ in sign language:

The Brussels team spells 'Collibra' in sign language

Technical enablement was part of the day as well. Our trained Trusted Tester Piotr Zrolka introduced us to best practice accessibility testing, and Aleksandra Morozova expanded upon developing with accessibility in mind.

It was a great first edition of our very own accessibility awareness day, as we reached the #GAAD goal: get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about software access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

We are already looking forward to GAAD 2018 and future accessibility events at the company to expand our challenges and test scenarios to include screen readers and dwell control, as well as working on accessibility test scenarios for our iOS and Windows On-the-Go applications. Make sure to sign up for our User Participation Program if you want to be involved!

Accessibility initiatives at Collibra

Other accessibility initiatives happening at Collibra are the inclusion of accessibility needs in the Collibra Data Governance Personas to make sure we design and build new functionality with accessibility in mind, compliance testing against WCAG 2.0 (focus on A & AA levels) and Section 508, and a dedicated – and driven! – team working on keyboard navigation improvements for our next release.

Ann has extensive experience as a UX & UI designer for serious games, audience insights software, and context-aware mobile applications. She enjoys nothing more than to think, talk, and work around customer-focused design, privacy and value for personal data, the future of technology, and the effect our minds’ ‘wiring’ has on our behaviour, expectations and reasoning.