Implementing strategies and safeguards to address compliance provides both an opportunity and a risk for public and private sector organizations worldwide. As legislative bodies are becoming more proactive and legal requirements for compliance grow stricter, organizations that fail to act run the risk of seriously damaging their perception as trustworthy companies. On the flip side, organizations that make the necessary investments in building websites, systems, and applications that provide a usable, accessible, and trustworthy computing experience unlock three huge opportunities: increase market share; build brand and customer loyalty; and avoid exposure to legal and/or financial liabilities.
Globally, there are several laws that require organizations to focus on accessibility and ensure IT systems are available to everyone – including those with disabilities. For example, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments requires United States Federal Agencies to buy and build IT solutions that are accessible to people with disabilities, while the World Wide Web “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)” are making Web-based information user-friendly for all users. In the same way that curb cuts in a side walk benefit everyone who needs to roll something down the street, an accessible Web site has many benefits to everyone – customers, employees, end-users, and partners alike.
In this aim, the AvePoint Accessibility Accelerator (AAA) is an optional add-on for AvePoint Compliance Guardian that provides accessibility and usability enhancements for Microsoft SharePoint environments. This is done through a series of updates to CSS, master pages and templates, and updates to content rendered by Web parts through the use of control adapters. The purpose of AAA is to provide a reusable framework to provide best practices for SharePoint accessibility and accessible design as part of the development process.
AAA provides an innovative approach to empowering organizations to achieve their SharePoint accessibility goals through the use of more accessible IT solutions enabling developers to create inclusive, accessible Web sites and employee Intranet portals. AAA is intended to significantly reduce the time, knowledge, and effort required to implement a SharePoint-based website that conforms to our aforementioned accessibility regulations, including Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and World Wide Web Consortium’s WCAG 2.0 Guidelines. There are also organizations worldwide devoted to promoting the development and usage of accessible technologies such as the Business Disability Forum, which AvePoint recently joined as a partner in addition to signing its Accessible Technology Charter.
AAA is developed as a set of building blocks rather than an end-to-end solution. Deployed in combination with Compliance Guardian, customers can utilize various pieces of the Accelerator to integrate particular components into their SharePoint deployment processes – meeting their specific organizational or regulatory requirements.
For a more comprehensive initiative to prevent accessibility violations, integrate AAA and Compliance Guardian with AvePoint’s extended Compliance Solutions to provide end-to-end compliance across decentralized SharePoint environments. This offering includes automated deployment of the SharePoint accessibility solution to the SharePoint footprint across an entire organization. Once deployment occurs, the solution can be configured to proactively monitor changes to the accessibility framework and provide automated infrastructure management to ensure that compliance is maintained.
With AvePoint, assure that changes to the Accessible Site Definitions can be developed, tested, and deployed in a uniform manner – and therefore deliver on the promise of building websites, systems, and applications that provide a usable, accessible, and trustworthy computing experience.