Meet the client

The Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering visually impaired individuals through participation in sports and physical activity. Since 2007, NWABA has helped more than 1,500 athletes compete in sporting events across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

A relatively simple website, with an intriguing challenge

When we started talking to NWABA, they had clearly outgrown their website—not an uncommon problem for any nonprofit that grows organically. Their website requirements were modest, they simply needed a clean, easy-to-use site to demonstrate who they are and what they do.

The challenge was a large percentage of their audience had some sort of visual impairment. For some, that meant a total lack of vision, while others only had issues with small text or low color contrast. Just watching NWABA leadership use this internet was a revelation — they either had their browser zoomed to over 200% (which essentially means they’re using a phone interface) or used screen-readers, both of which were often frustrating experiences.

Our solution

We began this engagement assuming we would need to deliver a high level of ADA/WCAG compliance, but the NWABA team quickly redirected our focus to providing a great user experience for users with, and without visual disabilities.

Rather than sticking to rote guidelines, we listened to the needs of their user base, including both common issues and edge-cases. We delivered what we thought were good solutions, then had their users test them on screen readers and various levels of zoom.In the end, their site only scored around 85% for ADA compliance, however the feedback and results have been great.

After Launch

Post launch, we selected NWABA as our 2017/18 pro-bono partner and continue to work with them to optimize their site on a monthly basis.