Creating an accessible ticketing experience

As one of the leading maritime sightseeing companies in the world, New York Cruise Lines values each and every one of their customers. So they wanted to ensure all customers had the ability to easily use their websites Circle Line and New York Water Taxi.

The Challenge

Web accessibility has become an essential piece of the design and development process. Not just because more and more of our world is going digital, but because inclusivity is an important business value. Approximately 50 million people in U.S. have some form of disability that might impact their ability to interact with content on a website or mobile/web application. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 outline four core principles for creating accessible experiences—which includes ensuring that a digital experience is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Following these principles helps to remove any barriers users might face in navigating the web.

New York Cruise Lines conducted an audit on two of their existing websites. From that audit, they hired LaunchPad Lab as a development partner to help them implement these accessibility enhancements.

The Process

A majority of the accessibility enhancements were code-related updates that we were already familiar with implementing on other accessible projects we’ve built. However, there were a few aesthetic changes that were going to be necessary. For example, we needed to adjust color contrast to meet proper ratio requirements, add an affordance to type in the date, and few others. We came up with some design recommendations that would both meet accessibility guidelines and still fit within their overall brand guidelines. After reviewing these recommendations with NYCL’s brand team, we were able to get those changes approved and implemented.

Having full control over a website’s content is essential to grow and evolve a company’s digital presence. However, there are a handful of accessibility considerations that need to be taken into account when it comes to adding images, formatting content, and setting SEO meta data. We met with NYCL’s marketing team and presented tips and guidelines on how to maintain accessibility while using their content management system.

“It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities.”
—W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Testing Accessibility

Once our initial round of accessibility enhancements were fully incorporated, we went through a couple additional rounds of internal testing. We wanted to ensure our changes met WCAG’s principles of being perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. We leveraged both automated tools (like SiteImprove and Google’s Lighthouse Chrome extension) as well as manual tests (like tabbing through the site using only a keyboard and turning on the screen reader setting).

What's Next?

We continue to support New York Cruise Lines with their development needs across their brands. From setting up an AB testing environment to implementing new ticketing user experiences to increase conversions—we’re there to support them in their various tech initiatives.

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