MURAL helps teams put imagination to work, empowering organizations to collaborate so they can be more productive and unlock new ideas, solve hard problems, and innovate faster. These organizations include people from different places, with different experiences and varying abilities. We aim to give a voice to all collaborators, making it possible to share any perspective.
In service of this goal, MURAL is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with diverse abilities. In this article, we outline the initial steps we're taking as a company to build a better, more accessible visual collaboration product. Our work to improve the user experience in MURAL is ongoing, and we aim to meet and exceed the standards for universal accessibility.
Product accessibility features and best practices
With every product accessibility feature, we provide best practices for MURAL content creation and facilitation.
As a starting point, we’re following WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). However, our main goal is to create a truly accessible and inclusive product, going beyond WCAG, to focus on end-user success and the unique collaborative nature of MURAL’s product.
We’re auditing and publishing the annual ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report), or VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), to document the rapid development of the product.
Between 2021 and 2022, we were able to remediate about 80% of the Accessibility issues that were reported in the audit.
We’ve implemented several features and published best practices to enhance MURAL’s accessibility for collaborators who are blind or visually impaired, including:
Screen reader user experience in the MURAL canvas:
We released the first iteration of screen reader navigation in MURAL, and we’re now expanding this capability to the majority of canvas features, including authoring and collaboration features.
Colors names: The color palettes in a mural include the names of each and every color to support better, more accurate use of colors for everyone.
Color-blind accessible color samples: Until we implement custom, accessible color palettes, we’re sharing color-blind inclusive color samples.
Individual pop-out feature: Select any item on the canvas and press the X key to magnify the individual object. This can be helpful for focus and vision.
Outline navigation: Navigate a mural with ease by using the outline to jump to a specific area.
Cognitive and neurodiversity accessibility
While we’re still researching more specific neurodiversity considerations, some of our organization features can reduce overall cognitive load and ease collaboration:
Hide cursors: Knowing where your collaborators are on the canvas is a wonderful capability, but it can become overwhelming with bigger groups. Hiding collaborators’ cursors can lessen distractions on the screen.
Express or control reactions: Reactions are a fun way to share your feelings visually or celebrate team accomplishments. However, facilitators or owners can limit them if they cause distractions or make others uncomfortable.
Timer: Time-boxing activities is an efficient way to keep track of time, but it also brings order to sessions and creates more predictable experiences.
Private mode: Using private mode can also aid focus. It helps collaborators to connect with their thoughts in a more mindful way with fewer distractions. You can set responses to be anonymous during and after private mode.
Outline: Outlines create a linear order for reading and navigating a mural. Use the outline to create smoother sessions and provide clear directions for participation.
Custom toolbar: As a mural facilitator or owner, you can reduce the amount of interactive elements available to collaborators in your session.
GIF best practices: GIFs are a fun way to engage collaborators, but they're tricky because they can trigger certain reactions, such as seizures. Our best practices will guide you in creating accessible GIFs.
Keyboard navigation: Many of MURAL’s collaborators rely on keyboards to navigate with speed and accuracy, which is why we’ve added keyboard shortcuts to the canvas.
You can create a mural that is accessible to people who are deaf or hearing impaired by following our best practices template. Murals also provide space for collaborators to write down thoughts before discussion, to read and respond to others in a written and visual fashion, and to rely on visual expressions to interact.
Create a collaborative and accessible MURAL experience
Join us to make MURAL more accessible
At MURAL, we design for and with people with disabilities. Join us at the Accessibility Design Partnership Program to take part in shaping accessibility at MURAL. Talk to us at email@example.com. We’re here to make your MURAL experience as seamless as possible.
This article was originally written by Nicole Troxell.