Accessible UI components foster better training experiences at Proofpoint

Enterprise-ready cybersecurity

Proofpoint is a cybersecurity company whose solutions reach tens of millions of users across the globe. Enterprise businesses, as well as government organizations, trust Proofpoint’s people-centric security tools to keep their organizations and employees safe online.

Proofpoint recognizes the power of proper training around cybersecurity. Proofpoint’s focus is people-centric security, making accessibility a natural extension of that mission. “Security and accessibility are alike in that weak links can have significant negative impacts,” says Jason M., Senior Manager of Creative Services at Proofpoint.

Jason and his team understand that all members of an organization need training around cybersecurity, and, by extension, everyone needs to be able to access the training. Understanding how critical it is to deliver cybersecurity and awareness training accessibly, Proofpoint sought the help of an accessibility vendor to assist with the launch of new, customer-focused training content.

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We partnered with Deque so that we could learn how to practice accessibility and better understand the ‘why’ behind it. We didn’t want to be passive in this process, but rather wanted to be taught how to do it ourselves the next time.”

Jason M. Senior Manager of Creative Services, Proofpoint

Proofpoint revamps training to make it fun and accessible

Proofpoint recognized the importance of delivering cybersecurity training to their customers in a way that is engaging and scalable. As Proofpoint developed new cybersecurity training, they wanted to ensure that all individuals who would view this content would have no barriers to doing so. “We try not to do anything without considering the end-user first,” says Jason. As a result, the Proofpoint team consulted with Deque on how to make their training content accessible to people with disabilities.

Deque’s experts were able to work with Jason and his team throughout various challenges with their training content. The audit project resulted in the creation of dozens of accessible UI components used to build complex training modules. The Proofpoint team received a VPAT for these components, achieving the WCAG 2.1 AA standard. Like accessible building blocks, Proofpoint’s training materials allow the content creator to plug-and-play components to create accessible training experiences.

Illustration of a laptop computer showing a shield and lock symbol on the screen.

Accessibility is very important to our business partners. It was helpful to learn from Deque how to engage these partners in conversation so we could work with them and have constructive conversations about making improvements.

Jason M. Senior Manager of Creative Services, Proofpoint

Accessible training boosts business relationships

Proofpoint’s Security Awareness Training arm is seeing accessibility become more of a priority to many of the organizations they do business with. Fortunately, Proofpoint’s accessibility audit and remediation work on the PSAT modules also helped build trust and rapport with business partners. “The nice thing about Proofpoint going through this process was for our business partners to see that making a sincere effort, seeing that Deque is staying on board, and that accessibility is an ongoing conversation,” reflects Jason. “We’ve found that this way people are much more willing to engage in a positive discussion focused on improvements.”

One of the biggest impacts of the accessibility project for Proofpoint is the newfound ability to engage in educated and constructive conversations around accessibility to help better the experience for everyone. Customers trust that Proofpoint is dedicated to improving their accessibility, and in turn, Proofpoint can speak with confidence about how they’re working to achieve their goals.

Accessibility fixes pave the way toward a sustainable future practice

Building accessible UI components demonstrate Proofpoint’s intention toward shifting left and maintaining accessibility standards over time. Looking towards the future of accessibility at Proofpoint, Jason reflects that he’d love to continue to create more complex, accessible UI components that help deliver a high-end experience to users. “We’re working on ways to get more engaging teaching methods to become accessible so everyone can have that same high-end experience.” However, he notes the importance of never creating divergent experiences for users: “We don’t ever want to make two separate experiences–one with accessibility and one without. To us, that’s unacceptable,” he says.

Through the training module audit project, Jason and the Proofpoint team turned technical requirements into a better way to engage with their customers and users. Through their experience working with Deque, Proofpoint established a strong accessibility foundation from which even better experiences can be built. “I feel like we landed in a really good place,” he says.

Everyone is in on accessibility. As challenging as it was up front, the longer we’ve gone, the keener they are to look at this as a fun challenge, rather than a requirement.”

Jason M. Senior Manager of Creative Services, Proofpoint