PG&E User Experience & Accessibility - Use Case
In 2015-2017, I was part of the PG&E team that participated in a comprehensive redesign of https://www.pge.com to make the outdate website fully accessible.
In 2011 Pacific Gas and Electric Company was sued for lack of accessibility in it's website. What that means is that people with disabilities had trouble accessing the website using accessible technologies. Pacific Gas and Electric Company settled with the plaintiff. The settlement detailed that Pacific Gas and Electric Company would have to make their website accessible according to the WCAG 2.0 requirements and meet Conformance Levels A and AA. All the content on the website, including PDF's, videos, and html content would have to be accessible.
The PG&E organization had only a little previous experience with accessibility. IT had taken a course on accessibility several years in the past. There was a tool to check for accessibility but there was no clearly define accessibility strategy or accessibility requirements, beyond having a web page or application pass the accessibility checker tool.
Deliverables for people to use and to establish tracking of accessibility through a governance process were particularly important. Tools used to create deliverables were Frontify, Powerpoint, Sketch, Microsoft Excell, Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.
Accessibility requirements were created as they would apply to the content on the website both from a technical aspect but also from a user experience aspect. We opted to follow Conformance Levels A and AA, with some extra Level AAA guidelines added.
The accessibility guide targeted external vendors and internal people creating accessible content and/or applications. Guidelines were carefully explained and broken down so people would know what to do. The guidelines were created using a style guide software known as Frontify. To download a complete copy of the Accessibility Guide, click here.
Accessibility checklists are an important part of tracking completion of accessibility as part of the governance process. I wrote a series of checklists and had both a spreadsheet checklist for the different type of content, in addition to a quick guide checklists that was geared towards marketing folks at PG&E. Anyone conducting an accessibility audit would have to use the checklists and document their audit. Checklists were created for every type of content on the web - pdfs, banner ads, email newsletters, videos, and HTML content.
I created training materials to educate external vendors and internal PG&E workers on how to create accessible content. This included accessible documentation, accessible PDF's, accessible videos, etc.