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News May 18, 2022

Raising the bar: How accessibility and inclusion deliver a customized experience on the new Jacobs website

On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re sharing how inclusion and accessibility played an important role in the development of the new website.

The voices and experiences of nearly 600 employees, clients, investors, future talent and community partners came together to create the new – a unique, customizable experience personalized to the individual user. And as with everything we do, we put accessibility and inclusion first.

Early in development, one of our feedback sessions welcomed guests from our ACE employee network, including Marie Purmann Charles who talked with project, design and development teams about her experience being a screen-reader user, and what it feels like when you can't get the information you need – something many take for granted.

“It was important that the network could bring someone like Marie with lived experience of dyslexia to the process so that our teams designed with empathy and clarity and not just to a checklist,” reflects ACE Employee Network Leader Nerida Weller. “We also know that screen readers are used by a wide variety of users, including those with low vision, some physical disabilities or to assist with fatigue. One myth is that accessibility only helps a small minority, but actually there’s benefits for all.”

The impactful session with the ACE network reaffirmed our vision and demonstrated the value in making the site a key touchpoint for audiences to see how we truly are living inclusion. So, when it came to building our new site, we designed it to be usable first and flashy second.

Not only did we achieve WCAG 2.1, we took it even further by adding accessibility features prominently across our site. Features such as motion control and screen-reader compatibility help ensure everyone can fully experience the site. We’re on a continuous journey to remove barriers that might hinder a fantastic web encounter, and we’re already planning for additional features – such as highlight focus and hovering and sound muting – to continue providing an accessible, unique experience for all.

And, we didn’t stop there! The site is also fully navigable by keyboard, which is a great option for those with certain physical disabilities, RSI (repetitive strain injury) or anyone needing a break from mouse use. We’re also working to ensure all videos are captioned and now provide transcripts of our podcast episodes.

“It was important that the network could bring someone like Marie with lived experience of dyslexia to the process so that our teams designed with empathy and clarity and not just to a checklist.”

Nerida Weller

Nerida Weller

Jacobs Project Administrator and ACE Employee Network Regional Leader

On Global Accessibility Awareness Day and every day, we’re proud to be raising the bar for accessibility on corporate websites, living inclusion and demonstrating how for us, “inclusion” is a verb, not a noun.

Following our site launch on May 10, Marie followed up to share her thoughts on the new experience:

“Oh my goodness it’s amazing!!! I’ve not tried every article but the ones I did try worked perfectly!!! I didn’t find a single thing it couldn’t read. You have honestly made my day.”

For us, that’s exactly what inclusion means. Being transparent and acting on our statements, commitments and initiatives to drives meaningful, measurable change both in our company and in the communities that we serve.

Our new website is just one of the ways we’re continuing to deliver on our brand promise: Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow. And living our values every day.

Person avatar in solid black circle with hand pointer overlapping

Tip: Can’t find the accessibility settings? Just click the person icon in the lower right-hand banner. This banner and icon are available anywhere you might navigate to within our site, making it easy to customize your experience according to your preferences at any time.

About our ACE employee network

One of Jacobs’ eight employee networks, ACE which stands for Access. Connect. Empower – champions accessibility, community and opportunity for caregivers and employees with disabilities. The network provides information, resources and networking, runs awareness events and advocates for positive change. Anyone in the company can join ACE to be a better ally and learn more, and by marking occasions such as Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re welcoming our external audiences along with us on the inclusion journey.

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