In today's digital age, the importance of inclusivity and accessibility cannot be overstated. As the online landscape continues to evolve, businesses face the challenge of making their products and services accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This is where Fable, an innovative online platform based in Toronto, steps in.
Fable Tech Labs is a Toronto-based company focusing on digital accessibility by connecting businesses with people with disabilities for user research, testing, and quality assurance of digital products. Founded in 2018, Fable aims to make the digital world more accessible and usable for everyone. They provide a unique approach to accessibility testing and training and bridge the gap between digital technology and the disability community.
This piece delves into the origins of Fable, explores its core solutions, discusses its testing and training services, and highlights the significant impact it has achieved.
Fable’s origins date back to 2015. This was when co-founders Abid Virani and Alwar Pillai met at the start of the Inclusive Design Master's Program at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design). Through their time in college, they noticed that the burgeoning digital world didn’t offer much accommodation for people with disabilities. Not only were products less user-friendly than they could be but there was also a noticeable increase in unemployment of people with disabilities in the tech space.
This observation would prove pivotal in shaping Virani and Pillai’s philosophy that those who experience a problem firsthand are often best equipped to solve it. Together, they worked on projects focused on improving accessibility, including the remediation of textbooks into more accessible digital formats. Notably, Fable ensured that a blind person's real-time feedback was integrated into the development process. This collaborative and empathetic approach laid the foundation for what would become Fable.
At its core, Fable addresses two fundamental accessibility challenges identified by its founders - the inaccessibility of digital products and the underemployment of people with disabilities. The company accomplishes this through an intricate ecosystem of expert-led training and testing services. Fable offers two main services: Fable Engage and Fable Upskill. What helps to set them apart is that these service experts are members of the disability community.
Accessibility testing evaluates the accessibility and assistive features of web pages and digital products. It comprises two distinct methodologies - automatic and manual testing. While automated testing relies on software to assess a product's accessibility, manual testing involves recruiting actual individuals to evaluate a page or product's usability. Fable offers manual testing through a service known as Fable Engage. Notably, Fable prioritizes recruiting testers who have disabilities themselves.
Diversity is a key hallmark of Fable's testing community. Each tester brings a unique perspective based on their lived experiences with disabilities. This diversity is essential as disabilities encompass a broad spectrum of challenges, and the compatibility of products with various assistive devices requires thorough evaluation. Fable's testers meticulously assess compatibility with screen readers, magnification software, and alternative forms of web navigation.
The reach of Fable's testing network extends across the United States and Canada, with testers sourced through individual applications and non-profit referrals. Testers are also sometimes hired based on the request or project of a particular client.
In addition to its testing solutions, Fable offers accessibility training services known as Fable Upskill. These video-based trainings are tailor-made to cater to the unique needs of clients.
Accessibility experts design fable’s pieces of training, many of whom have disabilities, ensuring that the insights and guidance provided are accurate and practical. Upskill covers a wide range of topics, from the basics of digital accessibility to crafting an inclusive user experience and maintaining accessibility in mobile apps.
Fable Upskill also offers an individualized approach to learning. Team members can track their progress and assess their understanding of accessibility concepts. This empowers businesses to cultivate an internal culture of accessibility awareness and expertise. By equipping teams with the knowledge they need, Fable Upskill plays a crucial role in extending the impact of Fable's mission beyond their direct services.
Impact and Recognition
Since its inception, Fable has tremendously impacted accessibility and the disability community. Through their inclusive recruitment practices, they’ve spearheaded a more accessible digital marketplace and a diverse and disability-friendly workforce. By involving people with disabilities in design and development, Fable helps companies create more inclusive and accessible digital products.
One of Fable’s testers has gone on record to praise the company for providing him with “The opportunity of making the online world more inclusive for those who have disabilities so that they can feel more a part of the society that everyone lives in.”
The company's commitment to maintaining high standards in accessibility has resulted in ISO 37001-1 certification, an internationally acclaimed standard for digital accessibility. This certification underscores Fable's dedication to ensuring its services meet the highest industry benchmarks.
Fable's impact is further exemplified by the accolades achieved by its founders. Virani and Pillai were honored in Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in 2020, a testament to their innovative contributions to the tech field and digital technology's inclusivity.
Fable's client portfolio also boasts an impressive array of industry giants, including Microsoft, Shopify, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). These partnerships underscore Fable's solutions' practical relevance and efficacy across diverse sectors.
Fable stands as a beacon of innovation and inclusivity in the digital landscape. Through its intricate network of testers and comprehensive training services, the company drives home the essential message that accessibility is a universal need, benefiting individuals with disabilities and businesses striving for excellence.
Fable's journey, rooted in empathy and collaboration, demonstrates that the path to solving complex challenges begins with understanding and that progress is achieved through collective effort.
Fable Tech Labs demonstrates an understanding of the all-encompassing benefits of digital accessibility. Their services connect businesses with people with disabilities for user testing, quality assurance, and a perspective on why accessibility matters. This creates a steady job market for employees with disabilities. This also helps companies create more inclusive and accessible digital products.
In conclusion, Fable Tech Labs is crucial in promoting digital accessibility by connecting businesses with people with disabilities for user research, testing, and quality assurance. Their services help companies create more inclusive and accessible digital products, ultimately benefiting the lives of over 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide.