How We Lost Hawaii Because of Low Contrast

SText reading Thank you to the Helpers o much time has passed and yet it feels like time has stood still. Its been a fog. Days of the same, punctuated by trying to remember which day my husband was in the office (he works in a hospital) and pagers going off (he’s also a first responder). I think I’ve logged like 100 miles walking in 2 mile loops around my neighborhood. So where does one pick up. I have a lot of thoughts to organize into coherent posts but for tonight I figured I would just touch on a brief experience I had with Salesforce during the pandemic and how much I love Salesforce’s commitment to accessibility.

I have been working with extensively. If we could go to a bar to grab a beer I could tell you more than you probably wanted to know about the journey that has been from the first days they announced it to partners to today. But since we can’t, I’ll keep this post to a specific event. We were setting up a demo org and one thing that comes with the Command Center are a number of custom components that display things like your office locations on a map and the wellness status of your employees by location. They are pretty sweet components. However we noticed that despite setting the colors on the location status picklist to a variety of bright colors, the map continued to show the dots in varying shades of blue on a blue and tan map. I had input a location in Hawaii. You can imagine that a light blue dot on blue water is really hard to see. Hawaii was gone. Missing. The ocean had washed over the islands. The light blue on tan wasn’t much better in all honesty. Initially I reached out to Salesforce to ask why the colors were not being updated with the colors I assigned on the picklist. The disappointing answer I received was that they were hard coded and there was nothing to be done about itImage of Command Center home screen with map of world in blue with blue dots representing locations open status. Bar graphs showing other data points for reopening. .

That answer did not solve my problem of having dots that were virtually invisible because of the lack of contrast. I regrouped and reframed the question. Instead of approaching it as why is it not picking up my high contrast colors, I approached it from an accessibility perspective. The colors being used did not meet WCAG standards. The contrast was insufficient. With the data about the contrast ratios in hand, my question this time was received with a quick escalation and movement towards a resolution. It may not be 100% the resolution I was hoping for in that I think the colors will still be hard coded but at least me and my team will be able to see the location in Hawaii and all of the other locations too.

Lesson learned, if it is an accessibility issue, be blunt and approach it as such. Salesforce is committed to accessibility and when they deviate from it inadvertently as a result of trying to expedite a product to market, they will work tirelessly to correct the problem if it is within their control. So far I have seen the lightest blue, the color for hard closed locations, change to a red closed symbol. Hopefully the next time I check the other colors will be improved too. While I still can’t use Dragon very effectively with Salesforce, when it comes to Salesforce, they are committed to doing their part. And as far as Dragon Naturally Speaking, after talking with the product team I understand that there is little they can do to improve that situation. That problem lies with Nuance. In honor of the ADA turning 30 this year, here’s to Salesforce’s commitment to accessibility.

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