Inclusion, diversity and shared values: How Protiviti helped Goodwill build an award-winning Microsoft intranet to advance its mission to those with diverse needs

According to the 2018 Census Bureau, 12.8% of the U.S. population has some type of disability. Included in that statistic are those who have impairments that impact accessibility of online websites, applications and documents.

These impairments include:

  • Difficulty lifting or grasping, which can impact use of a mouse or keyboard
  • Cognitive, mental or emotional impairment
  • Vision impairment (including forms of color blindness). These people might rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader to access text.
  • Hearing impairment, necessitating transcripts and/or captions for audio and video media

In our digital-first world, organisations’ websites, both internal and external, become the face and nucleus of the organization. And as organisations increasingly embrace diversity and inclusion, web accessibility has become a key component in the effort to provide equal access for people with diverse abilities.

Web accessibility is governed by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and guided by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The WCAG standards often are used as best practice — even by organisations that are not required to comply with Section 508 — to evaluate the structure, accessibility and operation of organisational web properties, or what is known as “web accessibility audit.”

Change Requested

Update Goodwill’s Microsoft SharePoint intranet to make it fully accessible to a global constituency with diverse disability challenges


Change Envisioned

Perform a web accessibility audit to uncover accessibility gaps and prioritize them for remediation


Change Delivered

A thoughtfully designed, award-winning intranet site that serves ~7,000 users globally, including those with visual, mobility and other impairments


A Personal Mission for Goodwill®

Goodwill Industries International is the leading workforce development provider in North America, striving to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work. The company recognised the importance of web accessibility to its mission and wanted to be proactive in helping employees with disabilities engage with it online. When the organisation needed to upgrade its intranet to Microsoft SharePoint 2016, it turned to Protiviti with a request to ensure that the upgraded site was fully accessible to all users.

The initiative was focused on improving the corporate SharePoint intranet that serves approximately 7,000 registered users. Employees use the site to access and share resources, best practices, toolkits, templates and learning opportunities, as well as to find directory information about locations and employees. The intranet holds special value for the small-to-medium-sized nonprofit Goodwill organisations in the U.S. and Canada, and 12 countries globally that rely on the site’s shared knowledge and best practices to supplement what they can achieve with local resources.

Goodwill’s constituency has a wide range of accessibility needs and thus, the website needed to be completely accessible to its diverse audience. Constituents include individuals who use screen readers and some who have mobility issues and cannot use a traditional keyboard or mouse.

Web Accessibility Audit

Following a client-led user focus group that provided valuable insight into accessibility needs, Protiviti launched a web accessibility audit of the company’s SharePoint intranet site. As part of the audit, Protiviti assessed the organisation, function, structure, accessibility, flow, feedback and other essential criteria 
of the website. In the process, we uncovered more than 150 accessibility gaps and developed a categorical matrix to evaluate and prioritise each gap. Protiviti categorised the gaps based on how significantly they impacted users with disabilities and worked with Goodwill to prioritise items for remediation.

Key remediations included:

  • Utilising the Alt Tag function, used to describe images in words, so they can be captured by screen readers.
  • Improving contrast issues without sacrificing brand standards and adjusting the font size for better readability for visually impaired users.
  • Educating users on how to effectively leverage the accessibility features already built into Microsoft SharePoint.

An Award-Winning SharePoint Intranet

After the audit was complete, Goodwill asked Protiviti to implement all of the recommended remediations. This resulted in an accessible, award-winning intranet site. The upgraded SharePoint 2016 intranet, named “MyGoodwill,” was selected as one of the 2017 Best 10 Intranets by Nielsen Norman Group.

“Diversity is fundamental to Goodwill’s values, so it was important for us to be confident that our intranet was accessible for all of our users,” said Beth Perell, Vice President, Member Relations for Goodwill Industries International.

Perell added, “Protiviti analysed our site and conducted individual user testing for people with disabilities. Then, they guided us in understanding the resulting user experience and accessibility reports, and advised us on setting priorities for fixes. Their work was not only a service, it was valuable knowledge-sharing that our team continues to use as we evolve our site.”

Goodwill’s new, fully accessible SharePoint 2016 intranet features:

  • A customised mega menu that is more touch- and tablet-friendly, giving users with mobility and vision impairments easy access to the content
  • Clear navigation and enhanced metadata. Users of the “MyGoodwill” site were trained to use metadata to categorize their content, making it easily searchable.
  • A clean design that enhances the text-to-background contrast, making the site more legible from a variety of screen resolutions
  • Interactive website visuals (e.g., slideshows) that meet touch- accessible guidelines

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

Goodwill’s mission of diversity and inclusion also happens to be at the very heart of the Protiviti culture: The three “i’s” in Protiviti’s name represent the values of integrity, inclusion and innovation. This kinship of shared values with our client enabled us to fully embrace their mission, build a deep relationship and deliver meaningful results.

Susan Haseley, Protiviti’s Managing Director and Leader of Protiviti’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative, says: “At Protiviti, diversity and inclusion are a part of our DNA. We believe diverse and inclusive organisations shape the world from the inside out and we value our relationships with like-minded companies through the work we do each day. Our goal is that every individual, from a client with whom we collaborate to a member of our amazing team, has the ability to thrive through their association with our firm.”