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Multi-year Accessibility Plan

Message from the President

For Wattpad, accessibility is not just a legal requirement; it is a fundamental value that underscores our commitment to inclusivity. We believe in the power of storytelling to connect people across the globe, and are dedicated to ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can fully engage with our platform. 

Our leadership team recognized the proud impact that accessible technology can have on individuals with diverse needs. By prioritizing accessibility, we are not only complying with regulatory requirements but also enriching the experiences of our users and employees. 

We understand that the term “accessibility” encompasses a wide range of considerations, from digital platforms to physical spaces. As we continue to innovate in storytelling technology, we are committed to integrating accessibility into the fabric of our products and services. 

Inclusivity is not just a checkbox on a list of corporate responsibilities; it is a moral imperative that drives our decision-making. We recognize that diverse perspectives fuel creativity and innovation, and ensuring accessibility is fundamental to embracing diversity. Our dedication to accessibility reflects our beliefs that everyone, regardless of ability, should have equal access to the stories that shape our shared experiences. 

I invite every member of the Wattpad family to actively participate in our accessibility initiatives. Your insights and contributions are invaluable as we work together to create a more inclusive future for storytelling technology. Together, let’s ensure that Wattpad remains a place where everyone can not only share their stories but also fully experience the stories of others. 

 

Sincerely, 

KB Nam

Introduction

Wattpad is committed to the identification, removal and prevention of accessibility barriers. By continuously engaging in this work, Wattpad aims to create a platform that is equitable, inclusive and that values the contributions of people of all abilities. This plan highlights past key achievements in ensuring Wattpad’s information and communication initiatives, employment, and customer service are as accessible to as many people as possible. It also outlines some ongoing initiatives which are being undertaken to improve other areas of the platform and the business.

Wattpad remains dedicated to working towards full compliance with current standards of accessibility legislation across Canada. In doing so, we affirm our commitment to providing a platform that not only respects but celebrates the dignity and independence of everyone.

Information and Communication

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) sets out requirements and standards for all businesses operating in Ontario to meet to provide access to goods and services to people with a wide variety of disabilities. Websites are required to conform to World Wide Web Consortium Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards. 

In 2020, we received an audit of our website which identified a number of places that  did not meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards. We are pleased to say that, as of 2023, both our website and our iOS and Android mobile apps either meet or exceed the standards.. As our business changes and we roll out new features, we will ensure that these features meet or exceed WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.

Areas in which we improved include:

  • Improving readability of the genre pages (www.wattpad.com/stories/<genre>) by screen readers for better accessibility for readers with visual impairments
  • Redesigning branded colour scheme to ensure high enough contrast so that users with low vision can read all elements
  • Dark Mode is available on apps and online

Areas where we are still making improvements to our website and apps are:

  • Improving ARIA labels across the Home Page
  • Improving social share buttons on User Profile pages so they can be more easily read by screen readers
  • Improving ARIA roles on User Profile pages to ensure they state the most up to date roles
  • Some colours have not yet been updated to meet the brand guidelines for contrast, we are working to identify these and update them

Employment

As an organization, Wattpad is committed to ensuring all employees can work without barriers. Areas where we provide generally available accessibility measures include:

  • Remote working for all employees
  • At All Hands meetings, Wattpad hosted a series of sessions regarding AODA and efforts to comply as well as stating that it is every team’s responsibility to ensure that new processes and products are up to AODA standards for accessibility.
  • All Hands meetings are hosted via video conferencing and closed captions are available
  • Reporting processes. Slack channel available to all employees to report accessibility issues and step in to resolve them, where possible.
  • Job interviews are conducted via video conferencing

We also provide temporary and permanent accommodations for job applicants and employees including flexible work schedules, individualized work plans, and alternative formats and communication supports, depending on individual need.

Customer Service

As a digital platform, Wattpad’s interactions with customers take place entirely online. Through Wattpad’s mobile app and online, customers can view the Help Center, which has articles in English, French, and many other supported languages. The Help Center includes an up to date Site Status button which allows customers to understand in real time any issues affecting the availability of the platform. The Help Center is compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.

Customers can also contact Wattpad’s support team in a number of different ways. Depending on the request, customers may interact with a chatbot or with a person. All customer service representatives are trained in AODA’s accessibility standards. 

If customers submit feedback on accessibility, employees submit that feedback to a Slack channel where all internal stakeholders can view the feedback and take action, as appropriate, to remediate issues.

For More Information

For more information or to submit feedback to us, please contact the Accessibility Committee at accessibility@wattpad.com.

 

Alternative formats of this webpage are available for free upon request.

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