Video Transcript


Equality Through Accessibility

This is the first post in a two-part series about accessibility. Part two shares our design and development process addressing one aspect of accessibility in the Heroku product.

Equality as a Salesforce Value

We at Salesforce firmly believe that access to information and the ability to contribute to our digital environment should be recognized as basic human rights, not a nice-to-have features.

Globally, hundreds of millions of people have physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities, and while in practice accessibility is about designing for users with disabilities, it also benefits everyone. Most of us have experienced conditions that impair our ability to get work done at some point in our lives; anything from a having broken arm to being in a noisy or dimly lit room.

"The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."

—Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and Inventor of the World Wide Web.

The current demand for accessible products and services is high and the number of people with disabilities and/or functional limitations will increase significantly with the aging of the population and the diversification of those using technology in their everyday lives.

A company whose products and services are more accessible allows for more inclusion and participation in its ecosystem. Salesforce takes this principle extremely seriously, and we consider it a direct application of our core company value of Equality and its pillars of equal rights, equal education, and equal opportunity for all. You can read more about our public commitment towards accessibility.

But improving accessibility is not just the right thing to do, it's also a smart thing to do. Creating accessible products and services forces you to consider your product's user experience in a holistic way, delivering exactly what your users need, extending your market reach, minimizing legal risks, and driving innovation.

Accessibility and Universal Design as our Way of Practicing Equality

"Equality is accessibility. If you don’t have accessibility you don’t have equality."

—Marc Benioff, Salesforce's founder, chairman, and co-CEO

Universal design refers to the design of products, environments, and services that are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The web is an ideal place to ensure the principles of universal design, as it breaks down barriers and enhances capabilities that the physical world can't provide. As with any good design, its value comes from a conscious and proactive decision and effort. We, as professional designers and developers, must decide to build accessible products. It's not in our company values nor in our personal ones to exclude anyone from using our products and services.

Web accessibility means that people with diverse capabilities can perceive, operate, navigate, understand, and interact with the web, as well as design, develop, and contribute to the digital environment. In plain terms, this means ensuring that our users can, among other things:

  • Perceive our content
  • Interact with our products with a mouse, a keyboard, or a screen reader
  • Understand errors and messages

Salesforce has already and continues to invest in this fundamental part of product development, and Heroku, as part of Salesforce’s Ohana, is committed to the same important goals. In the next post in this series, we'll share our experience evaluating and addressing one aspect of accessibility: contrast ratio. This is the first of many accessibility initiatives we’ll invest in within Heroku, and we’ll continue to spread our learnings and experiences on building an accessible product with the hope of inspiring and guiding others on this very important mission.

Originally published: August 15, 2019

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