Breaking down technology accessibility boundaries
Accessibility is an important topic around the world, particularly in technology. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people (about 15 percent of the world’s population) have some form of disability. Some of the simple technologies we take for granted every day, like websites, social networks, software and even mobile devices are inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Upon reviewing our own sites with this in mind, it became clear we had a lot of work to do. We started by revamping our engineering and product structure—hosting trainings and providing feedback on how to make our public-facing content more accessible. And we’ve come a long way. Here are a few things we have been working on.
- Headings and labels to aid in page comprehension and explicit input instructions.
- Text alternatives for non-text elements such as pictures or icons that don’t have a text equivalent on the page.
- Role, state and value information on all user interface components to work for all assistive technologies, including screen readers.
- Contrast ratio minimums (at least 4:50:1) for visual presentation of text and images to support users with low vision.
- Keyboard-only and consistency navigation improvements.
Our accessibility lead, Lori Penor, recently spoke with radio personality Brian Bushlach about our work in this space. Check out their interview here.
Aside from our own site enhancements, we are working with local developer communities in tech hubs around the world to make technology more accessible. We sponsored a special prize at our first-ever Expedia hackathon in Seattle (which took place in January) for the best accessibility solution. The winning team developed a product they called “Easy Walk”—a solution for people with disabilities to map a walking route that avoids hills or other challenging terrain. We also support diversity and inclusion all year round and recognize Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This year all Expedia employees were invited to take part in the celebration. At our global headquarters in Bellevue, WA and our offices in San Francisco, California; London, England; and San Francisco, California, teams observed GAAD by joining in a series of activities with special guest speakers to gain awareness of accessibility challenges.
Our early accessibility work at Expedia has seen great feedback, and inspired us to do more in this space. We’re excited to look for additional ways to bring forward important accessibility-related notes about our products into our site experience. We want all of our customers to be able to book and travel easily and confidently.
Travelers can view the Expedia accessibility policy on Expedia.com, which lists our four key areas of focus and provides contact info for questions or comments about our accessibility efforts.
Have ideas about areas you’d like to see Expedia be more accessible? Email email@example.com to get in touch with us!
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