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Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day - #GAAD

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Did you know that over one billion people worldwide experience some kind of disability? 

Whether it’s visual, auditory, cognitive, or motor impairments—or a combination of these—people with disabilities continue to be underserved in both brick-and-mortar and online spaces. That’s why we think Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is such an important initiative to highlight. 

This year, GAAD celebrates its tenth anniversary of raising awareness about the barriers facing people with disabilities and the need for more inclusive design. In honor of such a big birthday, we at RingCentral wanted to share some easy ways to level the communications playing field. 

In this post, we’ll share six easy ways to make your communications more accessible and inclusive to everyone:

  1. Think “people first”
  2. Closed captioning
  3. Keyboard accessibility
  4. Customizations for the visually impaired
  5. Voicemail-to-text 
  6. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a North Star

virtual meeting etiquette
Learn how RingCentral brought more inclusive communications to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind

6 easy steps to more accessible communications

Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience. If you’re looking to make your cloud communications more accessible, here’s how RingCentral can help support you: 

1. Think “people first”

At RingCentral, we celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day every day. Our products are designed to make team messaging, video meetings, and phone calls more accessible to everyone, regardless of disability or impairment. Our highly secure and reliable products are thoroughly tested with advanced human assistive technologies, which meet or exceed digital accessibility standards.

“Technology has the potential to level the economic playing field for people with disabilities,” says Phil Sorgen, chief revenue officer for RingCentral. “Together, we can promote accessibility within communication tools so that every individual is empowered to thrive.”

2. Closed captioning wherever possible

Make meetings more accessible for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing by including closed captioning anywhere there are video components. This is also helpful for people who have language impairments or barriers. 

Here’s an example of how it works in a RingCentral Video meeting. Not only do you get the running record of what’s being said—there’s also a highlight box around the speaker:

With simple tools like this, it’s easy for everyone to feel included in the conversation and empowered to engage.

3. Keyboard accessibility 

The ability to easily navigate workflows with a trackpad or mouse is an ability many take for granted. It’s important to think about commonly used keyboard keys and shortcuts in order to make processes more accessible for everyone. 

4. Customizations for the visually impaired

Offering the ability to increase the font size and also adjust screen color and contrast means everyone can easily read and interact in the digital space. 

Another great feature that can assist folks with visual impairments is a screen reader. As you look to make your communications more accessible, look for tools that support screen-reading software.

“Our goal is to give people with sight loss the tools, programs, and support they need to lead full, barrier-free lives. By providing us with an accessible communications solution, RingCentral is playing an integral role in advancing this mission.”

Frank Lombardo, Vice President, Property and Technology, Canadian National Institute for the Blind

5. Voicemail-to-text so everyone gets the message

Visual voicemail is an excellent way to bring more clarity and inclusion to your communication platform. As a bonus, visual voice messages are also great for anyone on the go who doesn’t have time to listen to a voicemail. With RingCentral, you can read voicemail transcripts in the mobile and desktop app. You’ll also get the info via email.

6. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a North star

The good news: there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to making more inclusive online experiences. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the gold standard, and they’re regularly reviewed and updated. 

RingCentral’s product teams design and develop every feature according to the WCAG 2.0 AA recommendations. If you’re in the market for accessible cloud communications software, be sure to ask about compliance to WCAG.  

Digital accessibility: Getting better all the time

The digital world moves quickly, and we’re constantly learning new ways to make the online space more accessible and inclusive. That’s why it’s important to keep accessibility top of mind all year round. 

RingCentral has a multi-year mission to ensure that people of all abilities can effortlessly communicate and collaborate with one another, taking into consideration all hearing, vision, mobility, and cognitive disabilities. Learn more about accessibility at RingCentral. 

Originally published May 20, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022

Make your messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls more accessible for everyone—all in a single platform.

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