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Accessibility is key for collaboration

In many companies, and certainly within SAP, a lot of attention has been placed on the importance of privacy, particularly with the impending GDPR regulation deadlines but that means overlooking topics such as accessibility. So, you’ve seen an endless amount of discussions and press releases around those topics, but accessibility and inclusion have all but disappeared publicly. Not so with SAP Jam.

Our belief that accessibility is important to modern collaboration and intranets has shaped how SAP Jam itself is designed and resulted in several key changes to the SAP Jam product over the years.

Starting with the November 2014 release, the SAP Jam team has steadily improved and changed how SAP Jam works specifically to make it more accessible and usable by all people. From implementing information that is used by screen-readers to read aloud page contents for those with low vision to using keyboard-based page navigation, the SAP Jam team is always looking for ways to improve accessibility.

Since then, the attention to accessibility has not waivered – in fact, it has grown. With every quarterly release since 2014, the SAP Jam team dedicates development and usability cycles specifically for accessibility.

While we may not always showcase accessibility enhancements in every release due to space restrictions, our full release notes will continue to include any accessibility enhancements, no matter how minor.

Enhancements over the years

So, let’s take a look at what’s been done over the years. As you can see, the list is quite extensive. There’s lots of relatively “small” things, but small things can often have dramatic impact, especially from an accessibility perspective.

2014

  • The first major “accessibility” release, where menus were changed, things were made more prominent by making them visible at a top level, and not buried under mouse-clicks.
  • Screen-reader specific text/HTML attributes added
  • Changed from image-based buttons to text-based, specifically so screen readers could read the text (it also made it easier for multi-language translation)
  • Condensed the vertical space to reduce the need to scroll
  • Action confirmation and success dialogs are consistently visible, in the center of the screen

2015

  • Changed to a responsive page design
  • Tab-chain support (navigate the page with the tab key) for navigation
  • Visible indications of page element focus (highlight the item currently selected)
  • Accessible color schemes

2016

  • Multi-language closed-captioning support for videos
  • Multiple speed options for video playback (play slower/faster)
  • Keyboard combinations to jump to various places in a page
  • Page loading ellipsis (the animated …)
  • Tool tips/alt-text for icons and images
  • Accessibility changes for: radio buttons, tables, alert messages
  • SAP Jam achieved compliance with Section 508-based Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) via SAP’s internal accessibility testing group.

2017

  • Update to modal dialogs, error messages
  • Improvements to action buttons, filters and sorting
  • Enhancements to make it easier for screen readers to identify content and navigate through pages
  • Hide unnecessary UI items from screen readers (discovered during internal SAP accessibility testing)
  • Changes to home page / intranet page widgets for accessibility

2018

This now leads us to 2018 and the May 2018 (release 1805) update…

Look out for what’s new in the next blog post, where we are going to be introducing our new approach to release information. In addition to the one summary highlight I write, I’ll be publishing “a bit more detailed” topic-specific blog posts, including another on accessibility.

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