Digital Accessibility

Digital Accessibility

Digital Accessibility and inclusiveness for People with Disabilities (PwD).

Here are a list of items that should be implemented on every website:

  1. Functional performance issues impacting users with assistive technologies
  2. Features users interact with lack contextual help
  3. The site is missing an Accessibility Notice
  4. The company has no Accessibility Policy
  5. The company has no Web Accessibility Committee
  6. The company has no Web Accessibility Coordinator
  7. The company has no Web Accessibility User Testing Group
  8. The company has no Bug Fix Priority Policy
  9. The company has no Automated Web Accessibility Testing Program
  10. The company has no Specialized Customer Assistance line for people with disabilities
  11. The company has no Accessibility Point of Contact
  12. Non-Conformance to Technical Standards (WCAG)
  13. The company makes no public disclosures of existing/ past efforts in accessibility

Core requirements at an organizational level (Web Accessibility Committee):

  • Having an accessibility point of contact for customers
  • Having an Accessibility Notice on the site, describing the state of accessibility support, possible workarounds, and how to contact the organization with accessibility concerns
  • Having an internal accessibility policy
  • Making public disclosures of existing / past efforts in accessibility

Overall planning and groundwork:

  1. Build an Accessibility Plan which covers all digital platforms - start with the web but don’t end there
  2. Appoint a Web Accessibility Coordinator or better yet a Accessibility Team - there is a lot to keep track of
  3. Ensure that staff that create content get training on accessibility - see that the training is built into new staff orientations
  4. Add accessibility to performance evaluations - at least for employees who create content
  5. Create an accessibility policy - people need to know the organization's expectations
  6. Make Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA the standard - and find ways to investigate implementing Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 in your publishing workflow
  7. Make sure you are considering accessibility in all of your procurement - a great many salespeople will tell you a product “is accessible” when it isn’t
  8. Have the resources to identify & resolve accessibility problems when they are discovered - it is a journey, not a destination
  9. Do regular reviews of the accessibility of your digital platforms - create metrics about your errors to keep track of your progress
  10. Learn how to use easy automated testing tools and basic manual ones - anyone with responsibility for content should be able to do this

Becoming leaders takes more effort:

  1. Ensure that you regularly test your site with PwD - engaging with communities with disabilities matters
  2. Make sure that PwD can both create and consume digital content - hire a company that employs PwD for testing
  3. Make sure that you welcome feedback from people with disabilities about ways to further improve the site - know your users
  4. Focus on intention and improving the journey rather than just meeting the “requirements” - Culture eats policy for breakfast
  5. Be vocal about your efforts to improve your accessibility - people should know that this is important to your organization
  6. Share what you have learned about being a more inclusive organization with others - there is a lot to learn and your code, policies and stories can help make it easier for others!