Making experiences accessible to everyone benefits us all. At some point in our lives, we’ll face the need for accessible products and services. Imagine an elderly relative affected by diabetes who needs to use a digital glucometer but is having difficulty reading the screen. Bigger icons with better contrast could be a big help when designing for those who are aging. Or imagine a friend struggling to make a payment at the grocery store while also holding a young child. A digital card stored on a watch could solve the problem of reaching for a wallet. A focus on accessibility could make a real difference in both these scenarios, and many more.
Accessibility is about designing products and services that overcome barriers, focusing on the unique needs and preferences of each person, regardless of age or ability. frog embraces the social model of disability, a perspective that views people as disabled by the attitudes or structures of society, not by their medical condition, impairment or difference. We help our clients lay the foundations of an approach that works holistically, from design to development to product management.
For the past year, frog Italy has been working on shaping our own accessibility taskforce of experts as a part of our broader international inclusion team in Europe and the United States. Our interdisciplinary team encompasses experienced accessibility experts and comprises of many passionate and knowledgeable talents, including designers, developers, business consultants and program managers. frog is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and has received accessibility training from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well as from TetraLogical.
Accessibility regulations are continuously evolving. It can feel like a challenge to meet strict compliance deadlines without overburdening the organization. But the true challenge is to shift mindsets; going beyond simply following regulations and instead proactively making better products and services that are useful for a wider audience. This shift isn’t confined to any one department or practice, but incorporates all aspects of the business, from legal to tech.
To achieve this, frog has devised an effective and efficient approach: TASTE (Templates Analysis, Smart evaluation, Testing and Evolution). This comprises of an analysis of the company’s digital touchpoints followed by suggestions and recommendations on how to address errors from a design and development perspective. We carry out accessibility testing—a variant of usability testing—that involves engaging diverse users to gain insights that our expert review alone can’t provide. In addition, based on previous findings, we share extensive guidelines for creating new content and features, to keep the app or website accessible over time.
The frameworks, tools and approaches used by frog are based on recommended best practice from W3C, IAAP, the Italian government’s Agencia per l’Italia Digitale and the UK government’s gov.uk site. Conversations with experts and individual users with different accessibility needs are also key. We take an Agile trial-and-error approach based on specific measurements; assessing and improving our partners’ existing websites, mobile apps and internal platforms as well as creating new accessible ones. Throughout the process, we utilize analytics, business prioritization of current digital properties, the monitoring of relevant KPIs and face-to-face user testing with end users.
Successfully advocating for accessibility within an organization means going beyond ticking the boxes of law requirements. It means setting new standards of quality for all. Here in Italy, we are already seeing leading businesses across industries doing the work. One of the country’s top financial services companies partnered with frog for an extensive program that included assessing their digital ecosystem and building a design system comprising of components and templates that are “accessible by design.” An innovative organization in the entertainment industry came to frog to help shape their communication strategy, resulting in positioning accessibility as a core pillar of their design thinking approach. We’re continuing to partner with each of these organizations to support them on their journey and commitment to accessibility.
The European Commission’s European Accessibility Act (EAA) means that from June 2025 onwards, all products and services on the European market must be truly accessible to everyone. To meet and exceed these new expectations, it’s important to work together. That’s why frog is currently focused on creating an international accessibility guild to share our knowledge and expertise across our global teams.
The ultimate goal of innovative organization must be to create accessible ecosystems by looking at products and services from a holistic perspective. An organization should not only provide accessible apps and websites to access their services but also have, for instance, customer service agents that are trained to understand people with issues relating to a disability and help them get their issues solved. Accessibility training should be encouraged for all employees to promote a mindset shift, so accessibility is not a mere afterthought.
One of the most crucial ways businesses today can have a positive impact on society is by ensuring the good work they’re doing is accessible to as wide a segment of humanity as possible. It’s a shift in practice and mindset that can be achieved by individuals at any level of an organization. By investing in the accessibility space, everyone benefits. Let’s create accessible experiences for all, and nurture teams of accessibility champions everywhere.
Interested in working with frog to ensure your products and services lead the way? Get in touch with frog today to learn how to create holistic, accessible ecosystems.