Since its inception in 2003, AFB Consulting has completed over 500 disability-inclusion projects for a number of high-profile organizations, including major organizations in hospitality, tech, retail, and more. Learn how AFB Consulting has helped organizations advance their accessibility and inclusion goals:
- AT&T, Verizon, and Sony Ericsson have sought AFB Consulting's help in making some of their popular cell phones more accessible to people with disabilities.
- When Adobe Systems recognized that people experiencing vision loss were having difficulties reading and creating documents in its popular Portable Document Format (PDF) software, the company turned to AFB Consulting for a solution.
- AFB Consulting has also worked with AOL, several diabetes technology manufacturers, assistive technology manufacturers, and a major supplier of internet telephony equipment to address accessibility issues.
- Voting equipment manufacturers have integrated the results of AFB Consulting's research into designs for accessible voting machines.
The American Foundation for the Blind’s Consulting Team has been creating and presenting accessibility training for Google for several years, empowering the company to improve the accessibility and impact of their products in both software and hardware.
In 2016, AFB Consulting developed and hosted an accessibility-focused “Train the Trainer” event, funded by Google and targeted at agencies responsible for providing services for individuals needing access technology training. AFB Consulting recruited 20 training specialists and developed interactive activities and content to coach them on accessibility features in G-Suite applications, Chrome, Chrome OS, and Android devices.
In 2018, AFB Consulting developed and presented training content and exercises for Google’s Disability Support team. This three-week course provided an introduction to accessibility and the different types of issues users often face. The training also provided groundwork for enabling support specialists to understand and use assistive technology such as screen readers, switch devices, and magnification software. Participants also learned how these technologies interact with Google’s suite of hardware and software from Chromebook, Android, and G-Suite applications.
As a result of these usability and training sessions, the accessibility and impact of Google’s products have continued to make great strides. AFB Consulting also provides Google with support for the creation of Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) documents for Chromebook and G-Suite applications.
AFB Consulting began its relationship with the Albertsons Companies in 2015 when Albertsons merged with Safeway Inc., creating one of the largest supermarket chains in the US. AFB’s relationship with Safeway began two years earlier, in 2013. Albertsons Cos. recognized the value added by AFB, and the partnership has continued toward improved accessibility of the company’s eCommerce platforms to the blind and visually impaired.
Today, AFB Consulting continues to provide Albertsons Cos. with a wide variety of services through its Accessibility Assurance Program including providing:
- accessibility policy and process guidance;
- automated monitoring of digital assets via its Accessibility Resource Center platform;
- manual reviews of digital assets;
- accessibility training, including facilitating local and remote workshops; and
- advising customer support personnel on resolution of customer concerns, as well as direct customer contact, resulting in more prompt and permanent solutions
AFB Consulting regularly interacts with Albertsons Cos. through its regularly scheduled meetings with their designated accessibility liaison. AFB also provides ongoing monitoring and support for Albertsons Cos.’ websites, including direct communications with the company’s technical teams to discuss, mentor and develop accessibility solutions.
"Albertsons Cos.’ partnership with AFB Consulting has improved the company’s understanding of inclusive design principles and the customer experience on our digital platforms. With AFB’s assistance, we've developed best practices for accessibility, integrated independent accessibility assessments into development projects, and offered quarterly accessibility workshops to educate our teams. We also regularly monitor our design progress using automated tools and with manual testing. Our collaboration with AFB has contributed to our past success and our continued commitment to accessible websites."
- Daunte Lopez, Senior Manager, Digital Compliance & Production
mscripts, LLC, is a mobile health platform used by pharmacies and health systems across the country. The platform enables patients to manage their medications through text messaging, mobile applications, or web pages, to improve medication adherence and overall health. mscripts’ patient population depends on their digital products to stay up to date on their medications. With an average age of 44 and many patients in their seventies and eighties, the mscripts patient population skews older than that of most digital communication companies, and ensuring that products are visually accessible is a company priority.
mscripts partnered with AFB Consulting in February of 2015 to bring their new version of their mobile and web applications into WCAG compliance and make their digital prescription management platform fully accessible. AFB’s Accessibility Assurance Program was recommended to mscripts through national food and drug retailer Albertsons, an mscripts customer. After several ad hoc evaluations throughout 2016, AFB Consulting developed a customized version of the AAP to ensure continued improvement of mscripts’ products.
Via the Accessibility Assurance Program, AFB Consulting evaluated mscripts’ digital prescription management solutions for Android, iOS, and web platforms. The first evaluation revealed significant issues typical of any application new to accessibility protocols, but after retesting the remediated issues, the app’s accessibility performance improved significantly.
The mscripts platform was then expressly redesigned for users with disabilities ranging from issues with visibility to those who require the use of a screen reader to use the application. Upon initial testing of the redesign, the baseline level of accessibility was significantly higher than after the initial tests. The redesigned platform was also much more efficient, providing solid evidence that accessibility is easier to build in at the beginning of a project, rather than retrofitting an existing solution.
In order to ensure continued success, the parameters of the AFB Consulting/mscripts relationship include:
- Quarterly reviews of the mscripts platform
- Automated tools to monitor conformance
- Usability insights and guidance
- Assistance with accessibility policies
- Assistance for end users if they run into trouble
As a result of mscripts’ enrollment in the Accessibility Assurance Program, mscripts users with vision loss are now able to independently manage their prescriptions online, leading to higher customer satisfaction, increased medication adherence, and improved platform use. mscripts’ commitment to accessibility and conformance with AFB standards also represents a significant competitive advantage to the company.
Thanks to their partnership with AFB Consulting, mscripts is now one of the most accessible digital health platforms in the market. Their pharmacy mobile applications and websites provide built-in accessibility, a necessity for people with disabilities, to pharmacy patients around the country. Armed with crucial information and tools to help all segments of their patient population, mscripts is providing pharmacy patients with user-friendly technology to help them more easily manage their health.
"Our partnership with the American Foundation for the Blind has helped us create an accessible platform that is now available to millions of pharmacy patients. The partnership made it possible for people with vision loss to independently track and manage their medications online, order prescription refills, and set reminders to take their medications. We’re excited and proud that our partnership with AFB has given our patients a convenient and easy-to-use way to manage their health on their phones and computers."
-Peter Towle, Chief Financial Officer, mscripts
Suez, one of the largest water supply companies in the northeast, contacted AFB Consulting in January 2016, seeking assistance and expertise to make their North American websites accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.
The project structure of the AFB Consulting-Suez relationship was almost ideal: AFB Consulting was engaged at the conception phase of the project, called in to draft an Accessibility Policy, review wireframe concepts, and perform testing on the individual functional components.
The scope of the project reached multi-phase levels, and AFB Consulting now ensures full accessibility of Suez’s online water customer billing portal, including signup, online payments, checking water usage, and account management; and performs end-to-end testing on key user flows once prototypes are completed. AFB Consulting also works directly with the technical team, a third-party contractor, to perform testing and remediation.
As a result, Suez's online portal is close to being 100% accessible to people with vision loss. Since Suez was committed to creating an accessible product from the beginning, no time nor effort was wasted in re-engineering. This stands as a prime example of factoring in accessibility issues at the ground floor, from the project conception level.