9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 7, 2018 11:59 AM by Heyward Drummond

    Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities

    Tamara Sawyer

      Hello - I am already aware that Tableau visualizations are completely invisible to users who are blind and use a screen reader (JAWS, NVDA, etc). My question is, when will Tableau become WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 compliant?


      For users who use Tableau visualizations extensively, what have you done to make your website conform to state/federal guidelines?


      Thank you

        • 1. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
          Vincent Baumel



          The challenge to design our dashboards and visualizations with sensitivity towards those who may lack the capacity to visually consume them  seems almost a contradiction of terms. In his 2013 blog post titled Data Visualization and the Blind, Stephen Few points out the challenge that "No forms of data visualization, not just dashboards jam-packed with graphics, can be made fully accessible to someone who is blind...no channel of perception other than vision can fully duplicate the contents of graphs." Indeed there may be no way to convey the impact of a visual medium in non-visual terms. However, this is not to say the meaning and conclusions of that data cannot be presented other ways. Screen readers can work with tables of data, in some cases (I believe exporting to an image or pdf can allow screen readers to work). I've heard of people using techniques like creating crosstabs then coloring the text to match the background so that it appears invisible, but is still there (and readable to a screen reader). Another technique that I've used relates to colorblindness. I created a string parameter called "Colorblind?" in which a single space was displayed as "Yes" and a double space was displayed as "No". I created calculated fields for all of the dimensions I was planning to colorize, and the calculations all read something along the lines of: [sub-category] + [colorblind?]     Then I would put this calculation on the color button, and assign the color scheme differently when that parameter was set to "Yes". This made it possible to use a colorblind friendly palette when the user selected "Yes" for colorblind, and a standard color palette when they selected "No" for colorblind.


          There are two other points I wanted to make. The first is a paragraph found in the Section 508 law, under section 794d, subsection a.1.B:




          This works well in conjunction with the following leading excerpt from WCAG2.0:





          I work for a government agency, and this is a recurring theme in our local governmental Tableau User Group. I'm always interested in hearing what others are doing to overcome this seeming contradiction of requirements. Thank you for asking this question!

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
            Vincent Baumel

            I wanted to make an edit to say that Tableau's ability to export visualization data into a program like Excel may be what satisfies the requirements of the section 508 and WCAG 2.0 compliance. It's a way to present the data in a digestible way for those with vision disabilities.

            • 3. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
              Tamara Sawyer

              Hi Vincent,


              Thanks for your reply. I think the part that we are struggling with is that the excel chart that is used to create the data visualizations is massive, and while technically "accessible" is in no way easily usable for a person who is blind. In addition, this data is constantly being updated, so it isn't like we can put a couple of tables in a PDF and post it along with the charts. We need a solution that is easily updated on our end and understandable from the end-user's perspective without completely overwhelming them (sorry I wasn't clear with that to begin with). But every bit of input and information is much appreciated and will be incorporated into the end result here.



              • 4. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
                Vincent Baumel

                I would imagine/hope that as the use of Tableau grows within the Government sector, they will see the growing need for compliance with things like this. There's really no other data visualization products that are moving towards ADA compliance with any urgency, so if Tableau can lead that charge they could see a huge uptick in governmental usage!

                • 5. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
                  Michael Hesser

                  Hello Tamara;


                  While this won't begin to address the scope of concerns you have, you may consider voting up some existing ideas, such as these:









                  There are many, many others in the Ideas section of Tableau. You may also consider moving your suggestion to the Ideas section (outlining specifics, if possible) so others can up-vote it, as well.

                  • 6. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
                    Zi Krostag

                    Tamara thanks for sharing this need. We're currently focusing on adding WCAG 2.0 support to vizzes server from Tableau Server/Tableau Online. It's worth noting that our current focus is on the viz and associated controls, not necessary the portal or authoring tools. We're aiming to make the consumption of the viz accessible, which is where we believe the most urgent need is.  These improvements are under development now for delivery in 2017. Our goal is to allow authors to create and publish WCAG 2.0 AA compliant vizzes so they can be embedded in other WCAG 2.0 compliant pages without "breaking" the compliance of the host pages.

                    • 7. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
                      Zi Krostag

                      Some new accessibility functionality is now in beta, I encourage all those what an interest in this area to come check it out!


                      More: Create accessible vizzes with Tableau 10.2 | Tableau Software

                      • 9. Re: Tableau Not Accessible for Those with Disabilities
                        Heyward Drummond

                        Tableau users can create and publish dashboards and vizzes to Tableau Server/Online/Public that are 508 compliant  (our VPAT documents the issues) when the author follows the documented guidelines and uses only accessible elements in the dashboards/vizzes. So our Section 508 stance is about the content, not the tool itself.


                        See our official site here where the VPAT is posted and kept updated:

                        FAQ: Accessibility