Making Higher Education Accessible to All
A Fresh Start for the Future
Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) came to The Nerdery with a clear goal in mind: create a new website to appeal to and engage current and prospective students, of all abilities, through improved ease of use, a better mobile experience and a more visually appealing site.
The redesign also needed to improve way-finding on the site through clear, consistent and universally accessible navigation, while keeping in mind ARCC’s target audience — current and prospective students, specifically those who aspire to transfer to a four-year institution.
A healthy mix of design and functionality
Each client website redesign has unique needs and requirements and the ARCC project gave us the ability to showcase our accessibility chops. There is a stigma that exists: sites cannot be accessible, have great user experience (UX) and be beautifully designed at the same time. We broke down those barriers and gave ARCC a site that is not only fully accessible, but also has cutting-edge design features as well as world-class UX and navigation features.
Designing for accessibility
There are many complex considerations when creating a fully-accessible site, which is why we have a dedicated team whose sole focus is accessibility. At The Nerdery, we test for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance to satisfy Section 508 and ADA requirements. This ensures that we cover visual, auditory, ambulatory and cognitive disabilities while constructing the site.
A responsive experience
Responsive design is another important feature that can often be overlooked in terms of accessibility. Responsive websites work better for low-vision users who rely on zoom, blind users who prefer to use the built-in screen readers standard on most smartphones—and any mobile user who wants something easy to use no matter how the world around them is being distracting. Having this in mind during design and development allowed us to cover users who prefer a mobile experience, but also users who rely on their mobile device for accessibility.
Building lasting partnerships
To this day, we have not encountered a feature on the ARCC website that we can't make accessible. This was a huge benefit to ARCC, allowing them to achieve their goals of increased engagement with current and prospective students through improved ease of use, a better mobile experience and a more visually appealing site. Anoka Ramsey Community College remains a valued partner of The Nerdery.