Accessibility at AOL is about extending the power of the internet to all users. In addition to addressing product compatibility with assistive technologies such as screen-reader software, alternative keyboard devices and voice-recognition products, AOL strives to introduce features to enhance the value of the internet to people with disabilities.
AOL Accessibility Policy
The AOL Accessibility Policy expresses the company's commitment to develop products and services that are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. The policy is founded on three fundamental principles:
It is essential for employees to be informed about the challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing the internet and the technologies available to improve the user experience. This information fosters the ability to address accessibility throughout the product development life cycle. The following practices are used to heighten employee awareness of accessibility issues:
- Provide employees access to widely used assistive technology software used by people with disabilities to access the internet for use during product development.
- To stress the importance of integrating accessibility into product design, we introduce the disability audience to employees by developing programs that include things such as hosting presentations by technology experts or individuals with disabilities and hosting presentations by technology experts
Solutions developed to accommodate a broad range of user needs translate into a richer online experience for all users. AOL maintains a dedicated accessibility team whose job responsibilities include:
- Providing support to product groups during all stages of the design and delivery of products and services.
- Participation in external initiatives involving industry, government, consumers and accessibility researchers to help advance adoption of best practices and techniques necessary to make web and software applications accessible. Defining product accessibility requirements.
- Monitoring AOL's application of this accessibility policy to its products and services.
- Employees with principal responsibility for the development of products and services consider and address on a regular basis issues relating to disability accessibility.
Feedback from the disability community is a critical component of our accessibility efforts. AOL engages the disability community through the following practices:
- Use of consultants who are disabled to routinely test products with assistive technology software and to guide the implementation of necessary improvements. Maintain a dedicated email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive input on accessibility issues.
- Support and participate in national and international disability-focused initiatives.
- Cultivate relationships with developers of assistive technology software, which is essential to evolve product compatibility.