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Olark's Q3 2023 Accessibility Progress Report

Lee White
November 2, 2023

As we enter the new quarter, we're excited to share Olark's first quarterly accessibility update. This is part of our commitment to both accessibility and working in the open as we try to make our products more accessible for everyone.

Introducing the new

screenshot of the new documentation page for using Olark tags

The biggest update is our new website and documentation. Over the past few months, we have been migrating all prior documentation to a brand-new website which was carefully designed from the very beginning with accessibility in mind. It is crucial that our documentation and marketing pages be accessible as well, as we try to make a great first impression.

Migrating Pages to New Agent Console

As you may have heard, Olark has been building out a new accessible Agent Console and over the last quarter we have built several pages that used to be exclusively in the classic dashboard. These pages include the new Channels and Behavior settings pages, as well as account management features such as log in, create a new account, forgot password, and password reset. Plus, as a bonus - we have swapped in the new accessible login flow for all users, even if you’re still using classic!

Automated Accessibility Testing

A major advancement during this quarter was implementing automated accessibility testing into our development workflow. All new code merged into the new Agent Console goes through a set of accessibility tests using the Storybook test-runner, ensuring our code regularly meets our prescribed accessibility standards without/minus regression.

Small Wins

In addition to these larger projects, we've also received helpful feedback from users and accessibility testers on areas where we can improve. Our goal is not only to meet WCAG criteria but also to create a product that our users love, which would be much more difficult without user feedback, so thank you and keep speaking up!

Adaptive Theme Selection

blue sun and moon icons indicating dark and light modes

One user told us they never realized we had a dark mode, but upon finding it, benefitted instantly from the darker UI because it was much easier for them to read. To improve user experience for this feature, we now use your operating system preference for light or dark mode to decide which theme we show you first - no more having to hunt around for the dark mode toggle!

Resolving Zoom-Related Chat Button Issues

Another user found that when you increase the size of the text in your browser, the launch chat button for the chat box gets cut off. A new fix makes it so the button's purpose is clear, regardless of text size preferences.

Enhanced Input Styles

a blank form field labeled "Emails" with "Enter emails in a comma separated list" help text below

Based on several users’ feedback, we've improved the visibility of text input boundaries and increased the size of labels and help text. These seemingly small design updates have a substantial impact on legibility, as inputs are found throughout the agent console.

What’s on the horizon

While Q3 was a big quarter for us, we are not leaning back in our chairs with a celebratory root beer— there is always more to do! As we approach the year's end, there are further improvements lined up, including:

  • Improving the screen reader announcements system for messages sent in quick succession.
  • Enhancing focus management within the chat box.
  • Refining the heading structure in the new Agent Console.

Stay tuned for further updates and enhancements as we continue to prioritize accessibility and work toward making Olark a more accessible and user-friendly platform and we’ll see you in the New Year!