Accessing excellence

A national organization dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities engaged Manoverboard to revamp its online marketing and communications efforts.
The challenges for us were numerous and welcome. The Council had accumulated thousands of documents and resources that required a searchable new home online. The site had to work and act perfectly for every individual, regardless of ability. As well, the site needed to scale as the organization continuously develops new initiatives, documents, and resources. Finally, the site needed to be fully bilingual.

“If we take the long view much has been achieved in making Canada more accessible and inclusive. I remember a time when: there was no accessible transportation, when the built environment created obstacles everywhere, when some were excluded from voting, when TV broadcasts were not captioned, when mental health issues were not spoken about, when families were expected to be the main support, when if you had a disability you did not even consider looking for work, when segregation was the norm.”

Tony Dolan, CCD Chair

After a thorough audit of the organization’s many documents and resources, we designed a sophisticated and comprehensive system for organizing this enormous wealth of content. Our goal was not find a home for nearly every document and data type on the website. And from a user standpoint, we identified five key buckets that would help users self-identify: human rights; social policy; transportation; international; and technology. Designed around these topics, the website was built to grow as new documents and content were added.
There is a stigma that persists in the design community that website accessibility means ugly pages and unstyled pages of text. We set out to prove this incorrect. The new Council of Canadians with Disabilities website shows off a bold red, black, and grey palette built on a strong grid and large, legible type. People with visual disabilities can easily access all content through screen readers such as Job Access With Speech (JAWs).

We also rebranded the organization with an updated logo, brailled stationery, and a set of customized email newsletter templates. Manoverboard is honoured to serve as the organization’s ongoing marketing and design partner.

 

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