Making your website more accessible for everyone can make you a hero in users’ eyes, reduce your legal risk, improve user experience, increase search findability, and give you a competitive edge. Despite these benefits, many enterprises struggle to implement sustainable web accessibility programs.
This resource summarizes the steps necessary to make web accessibility a core competency within your company. I created this resource based on my experience as a UX professional responsible for ensuring accessible digital experiences, and as a leader responsible for ensuring compliance across all platforms within an enterprise. I want to share this knowledge with you.
My hope is that this resource helps you develop develop an accessibility program that ensures compliance and integrates accessibility-minded practices throughout every aspect of your digital operations. This way, your company will build more inclusive and welcoming digital products for all users, including those with disabilities.
Part 1: Educate Yourself
Understand Why Web Accessibility Matters
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the business case for embracing web accessibility best practices within an enterprise. We will cover the top six benefits which include: improving user experience, reducing legal risk, increasing search engine visibility, gaining a competitive edge, and lowering costs.
Understand the the Web Accessibility Challenge
Your journey to build foundational knowledge should start with studying disabilities and assistive technologies to better understand the needs of users with disabilities. Step into the shoes of users with accessibility issues so that you can better understand the problem that you are solving.
Learn About Web Accessibility and the Law
To build your web accessibility program, you need to be well versed in regulations that govern web accessibility and how they apply to your organization. Here, we will cover four steps to better understand accessibility regulations, which include researching regulations and exploring accessibility-related lawsuits.
Part 2: Build Your Web Accessibility Capability
Establish an Enterprise Web Accessibility Program
Here, we will cover the first steps to establishing a formal program for ensuring accessibility compliance and ensuring that accessibility is a core part of the organizations culture. These steps include creating a clear policy and standards, identifying and prioritizing platforms.
Establish an Enterprise Web Accessibility Team
In order for accessibility to rise to the top of the priority list, key members of your organization need to be responsible for promoting, supporting, and/or implementing new accessibility policies and standards. Here, we will discuss who should be included on your accessibility team and what their roles should be.
Establish Enterprise Web Accessibility Processes
In this section, we discuss establishing processes and tools for identifying and fixing accessibility issues and and ensuring compliance across all platforms. We will also discuss roles and responsibilities for ensuring the accessibility process is a smooth as possible.
Implement a Communications & Training Plan
You will need to create a communication and training plan to help key team members understand the accessibility challenge. Specific training is needed for various team members to help them gain the skills needed to create accessible products.