27 May 2020

Accessibility improvements for the Self-Service Portal


As guides to service excellence, we believe it's important to practice what we preach. It goes against our beliefs to exclude groups from access to services due to disabilities or other reasonsThat’s why TOPdesk is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. How? By improving the user experience for everyone, and applying relevant accessibility standards where needed. 

TOPdesk is currently striving to reach Level AA conformance (defined by the WCAG), and has recently taken significant steps towards reaching this standard. Since the Self-Service Portal has millions of users around the globeTOPdesk wants all of them to have a flawless experience when interacting with our productWith that goal in mind, we’ve made some changes to the SSPAt the bottom of this post, youll find a summary of these changes, divided by the perceived impact of the implemented changes. 

When are these improvements available and what is still coming? 

For On-Premises installations, changes are effective from the second release (R2) of 2020. For SaaS environments, the implemented changes have been released in April 2020. 

Our work is far from done, however, as there are still many parts of the TOPdesk software we must improve to reach the level we set as our standard. A few examplesthe form page, the search results page and the services page. By improving pages such as these, TOPdesk hopes to reach a level where all users – with or without any disabilities – have a pleasant experience with our software. We would also like to have the SSP formally audited by autumn 2020. 

Want to stay up-to-date on what we are up to? Check out the TOPdesk roadmap, and keep an eye on this page dedicated to accessibility. 

Major accessibility improvements 

  •  Language selector moved from user menu to profile page. In general, drop-downs are very problematic when it comes to accessibility. The drop-down menu caused a lot of accessibility troubles. To remedy this, we decided to move the language selector to its own tab on the personal profile page. 
  • Color scheme of the SSP now has a limited area of effectFrom now on, only text on primary buttons (where there is white text against a colored background), tiles, and on the user menu is affected by the SSP color scheme. 
  • Contrast checker in the SSP designer. We’ve introduced a contrast checking function for the color scheme pop-up in the SSP designer. This pop-up alerts the application manager when they set a color that does not have sufficient contrast against white. In addition, such colors have been removed from the preset palette. You can still enter any hex code in the custom field, and ignore the contrast alert. 
  • SSP title split into two custom fieldsIn the past, there was one field in the SSP designer called “Title”, and this affected both the browser tab’s title and the text appearing above the tiles on the homepage. There is now a field in which you set the browser tab title. When left empty, it will display as “Self-Service Portal”. In the other field you can add a text appearing above the tiles 
  • The search instructions have been improved in multiple waysIn the past, depending on the screen reader used, placeholder text could be completely ignored or wasn’t really useful for users with screen readersBecause of such issues, the customization function will be removed from the search instructions. To provide a workaround for communicating certain things to SSP users, we have kept the text above the tiles function, where these kind of messages can be placed and have more context. Please note that this removal is still work in progress and is expected to go live in May 2020. 
  • Improved document results in the quick search results drop-down. In the past, there were two clickable links when showing document search results: download file and open KI. However, this messed up the arrow key navigation and screen reader functionality. We decided to remove the download function from the results pageUsers will now be taken to the knowledge item, where they can download the attached file. 

Minor accessibility improvement 

  • HTML structure of the homepage was revised to support navigation with a screen reader. 
  • Elements (such as images, buttons, fields etc.) now have properly marked roles and attributes to support people who rely on assistive technology whilst navigating around the portal. For the uploaded logo, you can add a custom alt text in the SSP Designer. 
  • Navigating the user menu with arrow keys is now possible. 
  • Improved consistency of the sidebar. For instance, in the number of shown elements, header colors, and text visibility – even when zoomed in. 
  • Focus of clickable elements is now clearly visible on the homepage and group pages. 
  • Quick search results drop-down improved. The contrast and focus issues have been fixed, and keyboard navigation has been improved. 
  • Skip to main link added. When tabbing through the SSP, the user will now have a “Skip to main link appearing in the top-left corner. This will take users straight to the tiles, so they don’t have to tab through the search bar and user menu. 
  • Search button disabled when nothing has been entered into the search bar. 
  • Contrast issues in various places fixed. 
Boróka Béres

Boróka Béres, Product Owner