Developing an Accessible Online Presence

With a broadcast service and online presence, AMI seeks to produce and showcase accessible content for a wide variety of audiences. AMI asked Myplanet to undertake the development of a fully-accessible digital presence to support their mission.

The Challenge

AMI asked Myplanet to support the development of a responsive, fully-accessible, WCAG level AA-compliant digital presence. In the online space, most mainstream broadcasters emphasize interactivity and quality content; AMI envisioned a similar standard, but with a focus on equal access for all Canadians. In particular, the solution would need to efficiently pull and display show information from the MPX video content management system. In addition, the content publishing experience would need to drastically improve. Drupal was named as the publishing platform of choice.

The Strategy

Myplanet began by auditing and user testing AMI’s provided design & functional specifications to understand the steps and potential changes needed to ensure full accessibility compliance. We quickly learned that significant changes would be required for key design components. For example, simple page elements such as pagination or tables required modification not only to achieve WCAG compliance, but also to provide an excellent experience to low-vision or blind users.

Armed with a deep understanding of the changes needed to produce an accessible digital presence for AMI and a fluid, efficient publishing workflow, Myplanet developed a Drupal 8-based solution in 5 months.

Myplanet had a lot of empathy for what we were trying to do. They felt and understood the mission we had for the site.

Virginia Vuleta Director, Digital Strategy at Accessible Media Inc.

The Solution

A custom Drupal module for MPX integration—to glean show information hourly from the MPX platform and display it on the site—was core to the solution. The approach optimized media sync times to minimize site load in a way that still worked with AMI’s workflow. Additionally, the solution integrates with the TV Media API to present program schedules for channels with described video in a comprehensive, usable fashion for all types of users.

Of course, as advocates of great workplace experience, we worked with content staff at AMI to understand their challenges in publishing content on a fully-accessible site. We helped transition the staff from a restricted Sharepoint workflow to a set of select specialists through to a Drupal-based solution that gives a wide range of administrative users complete control over content structure with built-in accessibility guidelines—a major aspect of creating a fully-accessible experience. Moreover, quick, easy identification of types of content and built-in templates now simplify the effort to make content accessibility-compliant.

Outcomes & Next Steps

Since launching in April of 2016, the AMI Drupal 8 presence has drastically improved the publishing workflow for AMI content staff and enabled a 100% increase in technically enabled content editors in contrast to the previous solution.

Additionally, Drupal’s strong blogging capabilities have allowed AMI to start building a community of guest authors to write and share articles of interest to their core audience. Tight social media integration within the site is allowing visitors to share specific content with their followers and friends resulting in continued engagement growth.

Visitors have also responded well to the Listen Live feature where they can listen to the live audio feed without having to leave the site. The consensus is they love that the new navigation is intuitive and easy to use, and the shows are easy to view.

Looking forward, AMI’s five-year roadmap includes a vision to achieve AAA accessibility compliance. With an adaptable, extensible platform, Myplanet has equipped AMI to extend their site as accessibility standards evolve and demand for fully-accessible content grows.

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