Our Accessibility Journey with Docusign eSignature (and Beyond)

Docusign eSignature helps enable people with disabilities to sign or send documents in a manner that can make an incredible difference in their lives at critical moments, such as securing a new job or buying a home.

Our product team strives to conform to accessibility guidelines from project conception to final product. We continuously make improvements to create an enjoyable and reliable experience for people using screen readers or any assistive technology.

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we wanted to highlight some key moments in our ongoing journey toward making our product accessible to all.

Docusign eSignature strives for WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance

Docusign’s eSignature signing experience strives to meet and test for U.S. Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 Level AA requirements.

eSignature includes support for:

  • Compatibility with common screen readers and other assistive technology
  • Differences in color perception
  • Keyboard-only input

See a screen reader utilizing our signing experience in action in this video:

We also take the following measures to ensure accessibility of Docusign eSignature:

  • Provide accessibility training for our staff and have an accessibility champions program
  • Employ a standardized accessibility testing methodology
  • Retesting of Docusign products and digital properties

Independent accessibility testing partner

As we built these initiatives, we also acknowledged that testing and verifying the accessibility of our products internally is just a first step Our next step was accessibility testing by reputable, independent third-party specialists and people with disabilities.

For that, we partnered with an accessibility solutions provider called TPGi - The Accessibility Experts. TPGi did an initial round of testing, after which our development and design teams needed to make some fixes. After retesting, TPGi was able to complete our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template.

Scaling accessibility with our internal design system

At this point, we also recognized the need for all of our products and experiences to be accessible, while maintaining a standardized look and feel.

To help all teams at Docusign create and implement accessible experiences and products, we’ve built accessibility right into our internal design system. A design system is sort of like a repository of code and design elements for things like pop-up boxes or other modules for your website or product. These are accessible components that essentially come “out of the box” for our developers to develop products faster. This methodology has become increasingly common and is used by many large organizations like IBM, Microsoft and even the US government.

Having a design system that integrates accessibility helps us develop accessible experiences faster, provide a better user experience, and fix issues across all experiences in one place. We are shifting our thinking to identify issues much earlier in the design phase to ensure that our customers do not encounter them in production.

What we learned on our journey

One major learning from our accessibility journey was that truly accessible experiences require organizational change, not just quick bug fixes. The whole organization needs to be committed to accessibility, not just development and product design teams. To bring the organization along, we created training videos and designer and developer checklists.

Our other big learning has been that to maintain accessibility, you must always be looking ahead and planning for the future. To do this, we have three focus areas:

  1. Look ahead: Always be aware of upcoming WCAG guidelines, so that we can start doing testing and improvements ahead of time.
  2. Test, test, test: Perform testing to show progress over time and be proactive in addressing accessibility issues.
  3. Proactively engage our organization: Strive to ensure every new hire has some baseline knowledge or training on accessibility.

To learn more, check out the Docusign Accessibility Statement.

Lamar Jordan
Lamar Jordan
Accessibility Lead