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Cherwell & Accessibility—Taking Great Strides

Posted by on June 17, 2020

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In today's world, we rely on technology in our everyday lives and in our careers, using it to communicate, navigate, shop, research, entertain ourselves, do our jobs, and so much more. Since it is such a cornerstone to all that we do, it's essential that technology solutions must not discriminate against the millions of people who have disabilities, but rather level the playing field so that all users have a single, standardized experience.

As governments recognize this need and identify shortcomings from past technology, laws and guidelines have been defined to make these accessible capabilities required rather than an amenity. Some common guidelines around making web content more accessible include WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, Section 508 Standards, and EN 301 549. The movement to support those with disabilities is important and as a technology company, it is our responsibility to ensure we are a key player working towards a common goal. We need to enable our customers and their users to do their jobs with ease, regardless of a disability.

As an organization, Cherwell embraces these guidelines with every new product or solution launch. We also need to adapt our existing offerings to bring them to that same level of compliance. We must ask ourselves: How will I use this feature if I cannot see it? How will I navigate this web page, or frame within a page? How will I know where I am within an application, and what buttons to push to make a particular action happen? What about the results of that action?

Changing our mindset is the first step to set ourselves, and our users, up for success in years to come. 

An Ongoing Commitment to Accessible Offerings

In 2018, Cherwell partnered with an industry leading company to perform an audit on our web products using leading assistive technology tools such as Jaws, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and ZoomText. They evaluated Cherwell Service Management’s Browser & Portal Clients using our out-of-the-box workflows, auditing the behavior of common use cases against the adopted industry standards at that time.

Since that initial audit, Cherwell has invested heavily in our R&D teams, tools, and processes to make great strides toward offering a truly accessible web experience.

In addition to accessibility being paramount to all new feature development, we are also evaluating and addressing any existing shortcomings to ensure they are addressed. In March of 2020, we partnered again with the same industry experts to evaluate our most recent release (CSM v.10.0.0) to ensure our investments were paying off and we are on the right track. 

The result? The hard work has paid off! 

We are excited to report that we have increased the number of supported standards by 13 percent and dramatically decreased those areas we did not support by a whopping 180 percent! This is not a one-time consideration or effort, but rather an ongoing requirement that we are adhering to today, tomorrow, and in the future. The key is that the need for compliance is on our radar and is something we will continue to invest in moving forward.

Cherwell Software is committed to investing in accessibility initiatives, through all new features, as well as bringing legacy features into compliance.

Find details on our most current Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) here (required login) using the following guidelines:

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, 2.1
  • 508 Standards
  • EN 301 549 v3.1.1

We are continually enhancing our processes and the way we do development to ensure that Cherwell Service Management is an industry-leading service management solution supporting equal access to individuals with disabilities.