Microsoft's SharePoint platform provides various services that streamline the operation of an organization. These services include document collaboration, cloud file storage, centralized access to corporate resources, internal business networking as well as many other services. SharePoint is used in many business environments and is a key application for employees.
However, the rate of unemployment among people with vision loss has been calculated to be close to 64%! As SharePoint is such an integral part of many businesses it is essential that people with vision loss are able to access, use and navigate SharePoint as efficiently as their sighted peers.
Introducing Discover Technologies - Discover Access. Discover Technologies has created a solution called Discover Access for SharePoint that we found to alleviate the gap in usability present in the out-of-the-box SharePoint experience.
In each version of SharePoint, there is a gap that exists between accessibility and usability. For example, blind and low-vision users are often unable to use basic collaborative features of SharePoint and since SharePoint uses all of the screen space, it does not work well with screen magnifcation technologies.
1. Navigating SharePoint is highly dependent on the use of a mouse to work with ribbon controls, Silverlight controls, pop-up windows and hover features.
2. SharePoint uses tables to display information such as calendars and list views which are difficult to use with screen readers.
3. Currently, the heading structures in SharePoint are not compliant and are poorly designed for users who use assisstive
technology tools such as JAWS, WindowEyes and MAGic.
Discover Access is a brand new system designed from the group up to bridge these gaps and more, and allow persons with visual impairment to be successful in the workplace.
1. The Discover Access solution significantly improves the usability and efficiency of SharePoint compared with the Native SharePoint experience.
2. Major interface enhancements include the Quick Launch system for quickly navigating between pages and a simpler page structure.
3. Discover Technologies provides a comprehensive user guide for getting started with Discover Access and the solution is very intuitive. This makes it easy for a user to get up to speed quickly with limited training.
4. While out of the box SharePoint uses popup menus toolbars, few headings, and differing layouts among pages, Discover Access uses standard HTML controls and highly structured pages with consistent and correct heading structure. It also eliminates extraneous visual controls where keyboard equivalents exist.