A new survey spotlights accessibility in the workplace and the importance of providing accommodations for employees who require additional assistance.
Capterra’s 2023 Tech Accessibility report found that while 82% of employees with disabilities believe access software is important to do their job effectively, nearly half (45%) rated the number of accessibility features as fair to poor.
Fifty-seven percent of employees with disabilities also indicated that working with their job’s software can become difficult without tailored accommodations or accessibility features. The report showed:
- Employees with physical disabilities (37%) and those with intellectual, developmental or learning disabilities (40%) noted keyboard shortcuts or navigation as their most important accessibility feature.
- Forty percent of employees who are blind or have low vision said the ability to customize fonts is an important feature they need to use software at their job.
- Fifty-one percent of employees who are Deaf or hard of hearing said video captions are important, with audio transcription coming in a close second (47%).
Adding captions and transcripts (and other accessibility solutions) not only satisfies access requirements, but also helps ensure full participation and inclusion by all employees, whether it be for conference calls, meetings, training sessions, group discussions, video conferences, or webinars.
In addition to providing equal access to employees who are Deaf or hard of hearing, captions and transcripts have been shown to help people maintain concentration, become more engaged with the content, and better comprehend dialogue (especially if that dialogue is fast paced, accented or muffled by noisy backgrounds).
Progress Still Needed on Website Accessibility
The survey notes that digital workspaces continue to pose unique challenges for employees with disabilities. (A recent report by Accessibility.com found that 90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology.)
Some of the most common areas of concern for web accessibility are not hard to manage, such as providing text-to-speech options, removing low contrast text, or fixing empty links and buttons. In many cases, these can be fixed with the addition of a few plug-ins or widgets that provide a wide range of add-on accessibility features.
Other items to consider include:
- Alt text for images: Website images should have clear, meaningful, and concise alt text to be read by screen readers for users with low vision.
- Captioning for videos: Videos with captions not only help employers reach all employees but also boost a website’s search engine optimization score and enable more people to find content via online searches.
- Customizable options: Websites should easily enable users to, among other things, enlarge font sizes without breaking page layouts and allow for changes in color contrast.
- Keyboard navigation: Sites should support assistive devices instead of a mouse and feature keyboard navigation for users with Braille keyboards.
Hope for Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping companies build accessible, diverse and inclusive workplaces. The report notes that 77% of respondents thought advancements in AI, such as predictive text in messages, real-time visualizations of data, and actionable recommendations, will improve their job efficiency.
As a leading provider of voice AI solutions, Verbit continues to use the latest technologies to enhance its transcription and transcription-related services and is now leading the way in applying generative AI to transcription and captioning.
Our newest offering – Gen.V – combines highly trained natural language processing, content generation abilities and artificial intelligence to identify the most important elements of a transcript, extracting keyword information and providing automatic summarizations.
Verbit’s Gen.V has been rolled out to clients in higher education and soon will be available to additional industries.
Workplace Inclusion Benefits All
Inclusion in the workplace is about more than hiring people with disabilities. An inclusive workplace values all employees for their strengths. It offers employees with disabilities an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, to be compensated fairly and to advance.
The benefits of good disability inclusion policies can be felt throughout the workplace. Although businesses don’t need to provide accommodations unless requested by an employee, it’s safe (and smart) to assume that embracing accessibility and inclusion can make a difference for a significant number of employees.
Organizations with inclusive cultures are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
Verbit is an accessibility partner to more than 3,000 organizations. Our wide variety of solutions and services has enabled businesses of all sizes to accommodate employee access. Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you.