Zendesk is committed to creating an inclusive workplace and thoughtful technology so that everyone feels empowered to be their best selves, and it begins with our people.
Our commitment to inclusivity inspired us to participate in the Disability Equality Index® (DEI), a joint initiative between Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), which is a leading nonprofit resource and the most potent benchmarking tool that measures accessibility in corporate America and advances the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Globally, people with disabilities represent over one billion people. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and it crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and religion.
The 2023 DEI measured: Culture & Leadership; Enterprise-Wide Access; Employment Practices- including Benefits, Recruitment, Employment, Education, Retention & Advancement, Accommodations); Community Engagement; Supplier Diversity; and Non-U.S. Operations (NonWeighted).
We are proud to share that Zendesk was named a 2023 “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” by the Disability Equality Index and is top-ranked according to the benchmark.
Participating in the Disability Equality Index has helped us concretely identify how we can advance disability inclusion for our colleagues and end users. It has provided us with a roadmap for continuous improvement. The customer service industry is a source of jobs for millions of people, and if people can’t use our technology, they can’t access those jobs. As a company that provides the essential technology powering billions of customer conversations for many industries, Zendesk has an opportunity – and responsibility — to drive accessibility and inclusion for those with disabilities at scale.
Leading with accessibility, a cross-company initiative
We’ve made specific commitments to ensure we’re building teams that look more like the world we live in. That takes concrete and sustained action in creating environments where all of our employees can find access to resources and connection they need. Investing in the growth of our team has allowed Zendesk to create a new Product Accessibility unit focused on developing a consistent set of standards and providing technical enablement to help our product design and management teams ship fully inclusive products.
In recent years, we also rolled out new tools and provided education and consulting about accessibility at a much greater scale. Zendesk took the following steps:
Conducted quality assurance initiatives for each of our end-user and agent-facing experiences. Later in the year, we will expand the audit and quality assurance programs to all Zendesk products.
Launched accessibility training programs with the goal of running Zendesk employees through hands-on design and coding workshops over the year.
Published a new Public Accessibility Statement outlining our vision, compliance information and how to get in touch.
Accessibility in action, one tech feature at a time
“At Zendesk, we don’t think about accessibility as a technical or business issue,” said Jon Aniano, SVP of Product, Zendesk. “We consider it a human right. It’s about inclusivity and opportunity for everyone. By shipping accessible products, we can drive disability inclusion at scale.”
We are proud of the range of accessibility features included across all of our products, but we are always looking for ways to improve and acknowledge that there is still work to be done. We structured navigation in content, including labeling all visual elements with captions. During development, our designers, content writers and developers worked together to tag informational images with assistive text. This text can be accessed by screen readers and other assistive technology, but is hidden visually. This design helps make these components accessible to users with any range of vision or hearing.
In addition, some people, like those with visual impairments or hand tremors, can’t use a mouse, and products that fail to take that into account are inaccessible by definition. We strive for Zendesk product features to require no mouse and have commands that can be made with the keyboard alone and support universal keyboard shortcuts on the web such as using the TAB key to step through a website.
Our conversations with many users of all abilities show that they appreciate the efficiency and increased accessibility provided by full-keyboard capabilities. Our intentional design system is a key part of our accessibility strategy. It provides consistent, accessible building blocks so teams do not reinvent the wheel when rolling out features to continually improve accessibility.
Zendesk is constantly working to meet the needs of our diverse user base, and we want anyone accessing our platform with assistive technology to encounter a successful and positive experience.