Making Zendesk products accessible

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  • Chris Blouch

    Where do I report accessibility issues? I have a page with a decorative background image added as part of a template. This image is placed on the page behind the header and search box but lacks either an alt="" or aria-hidden="true" attribute. Without these attributes a screen reader is going to fall back to reading the img src, something like:

    which is verbose and useless. In order to meet the W3C WCAG 1.1.1

    there needs to be a way to mark this image so it can be ignored by assistive technology.

  • Holly
    Zendesk Customer Care
    Hi Chris,
    Zendesk does not currently certify that the Web Widget meets web accessibility standards such as the ones stated in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). You can view our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template here, which details the products that have received such certifications. We are continuously working to improve the accessibility of all of our out-of-the-box products, including the Web Widget. The Web Widget is on our immediate roadmap for development (currently scheduled for H1 2020) and to obtain certification for meeting compliance.
    If the Web Widget is currently not meeting your requirements, I wanted to let you know that Zendesk also offers a Chat Web SDK that would allow your team to build its own Chat widget, to any standards desired in the meantime.
    Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you!
  • Chris Blouch

    Thanks for the response. I'm assuming you meant H1 2022 :) In any case, I'm pleased that Zendesk will be working to resolve. Adding alt="" to an image shouldn't be a heavy lift so I'm looking forward to this being fixed soon. Is there a way I can track this issue short of polling this forum? There are many other accessibility problems I would want to ensure are included in the scope of Zendesk progress toward providing an inclusive experience. How are you testing for accessibility? I'm happy to pull together a list or the like if that would be helpful. Is this the proper channel to document and resolve them?

  • Richard Boardman

    Hi Chris Blouch - this is Richard Boardman from Zendesk Product Accessibility. Quick follow-up. Thanks for reaching out!

    We have a brand new process for reporting Accessibility issues, so new that it hasn't been published yet :-). Please can you email us at with the specific details and we will follow-up directly?

    The alt text issue you mention definitely needs a look at. It sounds like this relates to our Guide / Help Center so if your site is public, pls include a URL so we can take a peek. If not, a screenshot would be great. 

    We will also point you at our Accessibility bug reporting template so you can report the other problems too and we will work with the responsible product teams to remediate.

    Across our products, we are striving to meet WCAG 2.1 AA. Many teams, including Guide and our Messaging Web Widget, have significant H1 2022 efforts in play after recently completing new audits. Hopefully, we can fold this issue in if its not in the backlog already. We're also going to soon publish the audit results so watch this space.

    In terms of testing, we're using a range of tools, although the specifics vary by product team. In general, we use a layered approach:

    • Automated tests built into our build pipeline
    • Manual tests using keyboard and assistive technologies such as screen readers
    • Code linters and browser extensions to catch issues as early as possible in development

    In the future, we plan to introduce usability testing with end users who rely on assistive technology too so we can move beyond compliance to a truly usable experience.

    Please let us know if you have more questions, and thanks again for reaching out.

  • Sydney Neubauer

    I have created a feedback post for accessibility suggestions so I am going to drop this here in hopes it gets some traction

  • Stephen


    I want to call out Sydney Neubauer's post - it is excellent and well written.

    Richard Boardman - it would be great to get some feedback on Sydney's commentary, as I think there are definitely some deficencies in Zendesk's current accessibility offerrings.


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