Pioneering digital accessibility with BITV 2.0 certification

Pavithra Sudhakar
December 13, 2023
min read

Accessibility is of paramount importance to Rocket.Chat, as we believe that communication tools should be available to all, irrespective of their technical prowess or physical abilities. Accessibility is the cornerstone of our commitment to inclusivity, community and collaboration in regulated organizations.

Rocket.Chat recently got BITV 2.0 certified, making it the first-ever collaboration platform to accomplish this feat, not just in Germany but globally. Garnering the BITV certification is reflective of our ethos of producing a product that does not merely cater to the majority, but considers and accommodates the needs of all users, thereby allowing everyone to communicate freely. 

Rocket.Chat is designed to ensure that users with disabilities are able to fully access and engage with our platform. We endeavor to achieve this through persistent product enhancements and rigorous compliance with BITV 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 guidelines by accommodating diverse needs such as color themes, keyboard access, color contrast ratios, and screen-reader experience enhancements.

About BITV 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 Compliance

The BITV (Barrierefreie Informationstechnik-Verordnung) certification, conferred by the German government, recognizes and affirms a platform’s alignment with accessibility standards defined under WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 AA. These standards are designed to ensure that digital platforms and content can be accessed, understood, and operated by a wide array of users, including those with physical, visual, and cognitive impairments. 

BITV 2.0 is an adaptation of WCAG 2.1 principles and guidelines, tailored to meet Germany’s legal and regulatory requirements. The BITV 2.0 certification covers the majority of WCAG 2.1 criteria, and any criteria not explicitly covered are tracked and addressed through an accessibility program to ensure comprehensive adherence to both BITV 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 standards. 

Rocket.Chat gets BITV 2.0 certified 

We are thrilled to announce that we achieved a significant milestone by becoming BITV certified. This certification is a testament to our commitment towards ensuring digital accessibility for all individuals, thus breaking down barriers and fostering an inclusive virtual environment.

Getting BITV 2.0 certified is a sign of our commitment to universal accessibility, corporate responsibility, and compliance with legal obligations.

- Christopher Skelly, Chief Product Officer at Rocket.Chat

We enlisted the services of CCNet, a legally recognized digital accessibility auditing firm, to undertake an independent audit of our platform, in line with our commitment to accessibility. They conducted a comprehensive review of our product, evaluating its compliance with BITV 2.0. 

By getting this accreditation, we join a select group of platforms that use technology to bridge the gap and create an all-inclusive digital world. 

Rocket.Chat's outstanding commitment to the certification process should not go unmentioned at this point. The seriousness, due to the field of application, was evident in every phase of the certification. Those involved in the certification process, such as some representatives of severely disabled persons at German universities, also emphasized this fact. Rocket.Chat sets an example for an entire industry sector.

- Carmine Squillace, Official Auditor and Certifier BITV 2.0 & WCAG 2.2 A-AAA from Lead Audit Team at CCNet

How does Rocket.Chat adhere to the BITV 2.0 guidelines? 

Rocket.Chat has been designed with accessibility in mind, specifically addressing the design features required to support individuals with disabilities. We work diligently to conform to the essential requirements set forth in BITV 2.0 and are dedicated to creating an accessible digital environment. Additionally, we run and maintain an accessibility program aimed at facilitating further enhancements to our platform. 

Features like adjustable font sizes, high contrast themes, and continuous keyboard accessibility improvements are just some of the ways we ensure our digital services are inclusive and user friendly. Rocket.Chat ensures a contrast ratio that not only complies with AA standards but also achieves AAA standards in the high contrast theme.

Rocket.Chat also has accessibility-ready UI components built upon our Fuselage design system, which is a modular and open-source distributed frontend library that facilitates scalability and flexibility of our platform. Most importantly, the accessible features can be enabled via a screen reader. These features make it possible for visually impaired users to access the full Rocket.Chat experience.

The road ahead

We continually monitor and assess our digital services to maintain compliance with relevant legal requirements and accessibility standards. We are also working to ensure that our product includes features that help ensure individuals with disabilities can access our platform, such as read-aloud compatibility, and better keyboard navigability. Please refer to our Accessibility Statement to know more. 

We are dedicated to transparency and enhancing the accessibility of our digital services. Going the extra mile, we have implemented a fully compliant color system and a high contrast theme (AAA) to ensure an inclusive user experience. We seek feedback to identify barriers and continuously improve our efforts by actively engaging with stakeholders and industry professionals, including members of the community. Our commitment extends beyond meeting minimum standards; it's about creating an accessible and user-friendly digital environment for all.

- Ivan Netto, Head of Design at Rocket.Chat

Our accessibility team conducts regular audits and evaluations to identify and address any areas where our product may fall short of the legal standards. If you believe that our product does not meet the legal requirements or if you have encountered accessibility barriers, please contact our support team, or refer to our Accessibility Statement for more details on how to provide feedback. Your feedback is instrumental in our efforts to ensure compliance and improve accessibility.

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Pavithra is a Product Marketing Manager at Rocket.Chat. She represents the voice of the customers and helps shape the voice of the product. She is highly passionate about bringing new offerings to the market. When she isn’t donning the hat of a Product Marketer, she tries her hand at multiple cuisines, lives a hundred different fictional characters through books, and enjoys playing badminton.
Pavithra Sudhakar
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