Every third Thursday of May it is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. A day on which we talk, think and learn about digital access and inclusion, and the one billion people with disabilities worldwide.
Firstly, what is accessibility and why is it important to us?
Simply put, accessibility is the ability to access and this is essential to create an inclusive world for people with disabilities or special needs. However, accessibility research and practice benefits everyone and can even be considered a human right. Examples can be as common as accessible buildings and toilets closed captions in videos and text that is easy to understand.
As a patient focused company specialized in developing treatments for genetic eye conditions, we know about the barriers people who are blind or have low vision encounter. We see the importance that companies like us do the utmost to provide accessible information about the treatments we’re developing. ProQR feels it is our responsibility to give an inclusive experience in all aspects of our communication, being aware of the daily challenges people face due to the (often progressive) nature of their condition and living in a world mostly designed for the able-bodied.
In 2020 we launched a redesign of our website (proqr.com). In this development project, accessibility for people with visual disability was the major requirement. We’d like to share some of our learnings with you since today is all about creating awareness around digital accessibility.
When we set out to improve our website, we needed to understand accessibility needs. Let’s first look at what areas of disabilities/impairment there are:
- Cognitive, learning, and neurological
Every website has their own purpose and audiences. For us, overall accessibility was important, but foremost we wanted to be inclusive to people from the low vision, blind and deaf community, since we develop a treatment for various conditions that lead to vision loss as well as Usher syndrome which causes progressive vision and hearing loss.