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The YMCA of Greater Houston partnered with EqualWeb to remove digital barriers and provide equal web access for individuals with disabilities.

The YMCA of Greater Houston recently partnered with EqualWeb, a development company that focuses on advanced accessibility features for websites, to enhance the YMCA of Greater Houston’s main website and YMCA Camp Cullen’s website to provide digital accessibility and inclusion for individuals with disabilities.

According to American Community Survey, 20% of the world’s population has difficulties accessing and navigating websites, ranging from motor, visual or auditory impairments to epilepsy or aging. This joint effort aims to elevate the Houston Y’s purpose to address these difficulties and implement experiences that are inclusive to all.

“Through our EqualWeb partnership, the YMCA of Greater Houston is taking strides to remove communication barriers and create a digital space that allows fair and equal interaction,” said John Cardone, the chief brand officer at the Houston Y, in a statement. “As an organization which actively supports the social inclusion of all people, the Y is excited to enhance our websites to provide more accessible features. We believe our work with EqualWeb will not only elevate but reaffirm our equity work – a key part of the Y’s mission.”

According to Erez Bahat, the CEO of EqualWeb, the enhanced YMCA websites take a ‘hybrid approach’ — combining human knowledge with artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide a best of both worlds experience, so Houstonians enjoy a barrier-free, equal and comprehensive web access experience.

The updated YMCA websites include the following features:

  • Screen Reader Adjustments. This integration enables blind and visually-impaired users to utilize their own screen readers on the website.
  • Text reader. All on-screen text is read aloud clearly and slowly, enabling accessibility for the visually impaired and beyond. This also accommodates auditory learners and users with learning and attention issues – such as dyslexia – who prefer not to read long blocks of text.
  • Voice command. Users can speak to their computer and issue a range of voice commands using their microphone, such as scroll, input, next and preview. This enables accessibility for all users – including those with physical limitations – by completely eliminating the need to touch a keyboard or mouse.
  • Color adjustment. Color Adjustment functions assist those with sight impairments such as color blindness. This feature allows the user to view the site in any color variation, including changes to the site’s grayscale and contrast.
  • Font sizing. To be inclusive of users with processing disorders, learning and attention issues, and visual impairments, users have the option to adjust text size, including modifying line and word spacing for ease of reading and skimming.
  • A total of 29 features to enhance the accessibility on the website.

The YMCA is showing its commitment to Houstonians by making its website equal and accessible for everyone, and we at EqualWeb are excited and proud to take part in it,” said Bahat. “Equalweb will provide its cutting-edge accessibility tool and services to allow equal website access and thus equal opportunities, not only to Houstonians with disabilities, but will also keep the senior and elderly population better engaged.”

For more information about the YMCA of Greater Houston’s enhanced website features, visit the YMCA of Greater Houston and YMCA Camp Cullen web pages.

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Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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