How CBC made an election accessible online with Fable

When the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) was preparing for a federal election, they incorporated Fable throughout the development cycle to ensure people with disabilities weren’t left out.

Canada Votes CBC branding
Canada Votes CBC branding

How CBC made an election accessible online with Fable

When the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) was preparing for a federal election, they incorporated Fable throughout the development cycle to ensure people with disabilities weren’t left out.

Making election coverage accessible to all Canadians

The CBC is the Canadian national public broadcaster, responsible for delivering  news and entertainment to Canadians from coast to coast. As the public broadcaster, CBC is the most trusted source for information on many of the most important parts of Canadian life. 

Part of this responsibility is reporting on Canadian elections. Elections impact everybody, and ensuring that the results of an election are easy to follow for the six million Canadians with disabilities is essential. CBC’s Digital Accessibility Program Manager Patrick Dunphy led an inclusive approach that resulted in a big win for the organization. 

CBC engaged people with disabilities in three key moments:

  1. Test a relatable experience, months in advance
  2. Simulate the experience, in a staging environment
  3. Validate live, as the Election results are rolling in

“I liked seeing the results change as election results came in, it made me feel like I was seeing what sighted people would see as I was listening to the election coverage.”

– Tammy, Accessibility Analyst at Fable 

Modern election coverage is a complex array of summaries, statistics, polls, graphics and maps. Creating a fully accessible experience in this environment  involved several challenges. In an electoral context, complex data visualizations provide an easy summary understanding to the reader. Ensuring that graphics and visualizations deliver the same value for all users is a challenge on its own, and the added layer of constantly changing results makes it a complex problem. 

Screenshot of Canada Votes CBC tracker showing seat allocation in the 2019 Canadian election

How Fable helped

Working with Fable helped the CBC build an accessible election experience, from start, education and platform information to help inform Canadians of various platforms, to finish, election results. From the onset, Fable eliminated the burden of recruitment and allowed the CBC to engage with people with disabilities online and on-demand. From consent forms, to fair compensation, Fable helped CBC stay focused on the primary goal; delivering accessible election coverage. 

With that extra work removed, CBC’s team was able to allocate more time to engaging people with disabilities, especially in the rehearsal stage, which made it possible to get feedback earlier and iteratively.

As the election unfolded, CBC’s digital team was confident. Every Canadian would be well-informed and able to follow election results live. On the final Compatibility Test, ran during election night, positive feedback validated the team’s hard work.

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