We are committed to raising the bar of accessibility and inclusiveness through design and technology.

At Exygy, we work in the public sector, creating websites and supporting digital delivery of social services. It's our mission to ensure that these products and services are truly human-centered and reach as many people as possible, especially those that have been traditionally marginalized or underserved by technology. One way to ensure our digital products meet the needs of all users is by designing for accessibility and inclusiveness.

Accessibility is our responsibility.

As creators of technology that’s centered around the experiences of underserved populations, we hold ourselves accountable to bring to life digital products that deliver ease, efficiency, and delight to the people who access critical resources, services, and information.

Below we define accessibility, discuss common barriers, and share ways to get started in your journey to making your work more accessible and inclusive.
A collage of the Exygy team participating in marches, interviews, and showing their support for mission-aligned issue areas.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility can mean different things to different folks so it’s helpful to clarify some terms for the sake of alignment.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, is the civil rights law that prohibits people with disabilities from being discriminated against in all areas of public life.
  • Title III of the ADA, specifically states that businesses must ensure access to public content and services which include websites.
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the standards that were produced and are maintained to provide creators with the recommendations and best practices they need to make technology more accessible. 1

At least 1 in 5 people in the world are living with a disability. 2 Committing to web accessibility means ensuring that people with a range of disabilities can use your digital product. The disabilities that relate to digital accessibility include four types of users: 3

  • Visual Disabilities include blindness, low vision, and color blindness, which affect 28% of the world's population.
  • Hearing Disabilities include auditory disabilities from mild to complete hearing loss in one or both ears, which affect 5% of the world's population.
  • Mobility Disabilities include any disability that affects a person's physical functions, dexterity or stamina, which affect 16% of adults in the US.
  • Cognitive Disabilities include people who face more challenges when trying to complete mental tasks, which affects 8 million people in the US. 4

Why accessibility is for everyone.

By design, accessible websites and products work better for everyone, not just for those with disabilities. The accessible design principles, when implemented, make sites load faster and are more intuitive. Accessibility accommodations also support those with:

  • Slow internet connections. People who have limited internet connections benefit from content that is well structured.
  • Situational challenges. People in environments that challenge their senses including noisy spaces or bright lighting benefit from accommodations made for people with hearing and visual disabilities.
  • Temporary disabilities. People who are recovering from a broken limb or who may have just lost their reading glasses also benefit from accessible design elements.
  • Alternative devices. People who are using newer smart watches and connected TVs benefit from the keyboard access technology used by assistive devices.
A collage of the Exygy team participating in marches, interviews, and showing their support for mission-aligned issue areas.
A county-by-county look at the broadband gap, compiled by The Verge with datasets sourced from Microsoft’s cloud services network.

How designers & technologists create accessibility and inclusivity.

We are dedicated to leaving our mark on the world by removing as many barriers to accessing critical services and information as possible. We share these ways to increase accessibility and inclusion as a way to bring others together around this common mission, and to hold ourselves accountable for perpetually improving our craft.

Common barriers to creating accessible technology
3 first steps to bring accessibility to your work
Helpful tools & best practices for accessibility
Bringing accessibility to the design process
From accessibility to inclusiveness

How Exygy is bringing accessibility and inclusivity to our projects right now.

Our team’s experience developing products in the civic space allows us to deepen our investment in creating a set of accessibility standards.

Bloom Housing

Bloom is a modern system that helps people learn about, apply for, and gain access to affordable housing. The goal of Bloom is to provide people, developers and housing staff with a one-stop shop for all housing-related needs.

When it comes to affordable housing, many residents have limited choices and means, so it is important to design a product that works for as many people as possible. While creating our first Bloom Housing product, DAHLIA, The San Francisco Mayor’s Office connected us with local city representatives, including those who embedded in the disabled community.

We engaged with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco on an ongoing basis to ensure that we were designing and building an accessible product for people with visual disabilities. Some highlights included:

  • The Access Technology team at LightHouse San Francisco served as advisors providing early feedback on the core user experience when in early prototyping.
  • Meeting with access technology experts to access features as they were developed before being released to the public.
  • Working with people with visual disabilities from a number of backgrounds to provide feedback on the product.

LightHouse San Francisco uplifts folks who are blind or low vision by training them to be digital accessibility advocates. The closer organizations are to individuals with disabilities, the better the product design will be for everyone!

We also met with staff at The Arc to review how to make updates to site content and user experience for people with learning and developmental disabilities. We implemented many new features including:

  • Breaking up a long application process into a collection of simple pages with a clear indication of progress.
  • Writing a more inclusive reading level which benefits people with cognitive impairments.
  • Utilizing empty space to break up sections and draw attention to the priority content.

City of Oakland

Recently we worked with the City of Oakland to redesign their website which delivers critical city services to its residents. We helped the city draft a new accessibility statement, which states:

“To ensure a seamless user experience for all our users, our current efforts are focused on delivering digital experiences that will work for people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. This is a journey we will forever be committed to and continuously improve on, as we value each person that takes the time to visit our website.”

To uphold the above statement, over the last few months of our engagement we:

We continue to work with the City of Oakland to expand accessibility standards and move’s needle of impact to more closely embody their accessibility statement.

Get in touch with Exygy for more resources & support.

We recognize that this can be an overwhelming process to begin. Our team of designers and technologists are invested in supporting others in their journey to increasing accessibility and inclusion in digital spaces. If we can provide additional support, or if you have feedback for us, please reach out:

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