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AX: Key Considerations for Accessibility

By Adrian Redden | Accessibility Consultant

INSIGHTS // Articles

20 Jun 2019

#Accessibility|#Consultancy|#Strategy

INSIGHTS // Articles

#Accessibility|#Consultancy|#Strategy

By Adrian Redden

20 Jun 2019

At our recent “Adopting a Customer-First Strategy” event in Sydney, I presented on what accessibility is, who it impacts, and why you may need to consider it from a business perspective. This is quite a broad topic, so at the conclusion of my presentation I received several questions about accessibility.

Here are the answers I provided:

AX: Key Considerations for Accessibility

Is it possible to track the number of disabled users accessing a website?

This is difficult at the moment because:

  • Analytics software typically can’t detect assistive technologies. For example, screen readers interact with the browser and not the website itself.
  • Not all users with disabilities use assistive technologies.
  • There are ethical concerns around tracking assistive technologies.

These barriers may change in the future, but in the meantime, the best way to gain insights into accessibility requirements is to conduct a user survey. This can be combined with available analytics on devices, browsers, and operating systems to help you cater for specifics.

If you’re keen to learn more, MightyBytes has an interesting post about how many people with disabilities use a website.

How does one gather feedback from users with disabilities?

Accessibility surveys is the most direct approach. It lets you gauge how people feel about your implementation of accessibility, as well as areas for improvement.

User testing also provides valuable feedback. This is because you’re engaging real people with accessibility requirements to use your product in a controlled environment.

You can create open communication channels. Social media, email, phone, live chat, and other provide direct contact with users.

Can I do accessibility testing myself?

The W3C’s Easy Checks can be used a starting point to perform some preliminary tests yourself. Some organisations are also able to bring the right skillsets in-house.

However, learning these specialised skills can be time consuming, so it may be more practical to build your team’s understanding of the principles of accessibility, so that you’re putting yourself on the right path, and then engage an expert third party to implement it.

An independent accessibility specialist is able to provide a fresh perspective that can help identify issues big and small, provide clear guidance around laws and requirements, and much more. This ensures you are implementing accessibility correctly from the beginning.

Is there a global standard to benchmark the maturity of an organisation's accessibility?

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) has a Digital Accessibility Maturity Model which you can follow for this. This model is based on the Business Disability Forum’s original Accessibility Maturity Model.

Does responsibility for accessibility differ depending on role?

Accessibility is not the role of one individual but a team effort. At the same time, there are certain considerations that may differ from one role to another.

As a product owner, do you know:

  • Your accessibility maturity level?
  • Where your platform is at the moment?
  • Why your organisation isn't where you want to be?
  • Accessibility and WCAG requirements, and how to communicate them?
  • What your team needs to do from now and moving forward?

As a developer, do you know how to:

  • Quickly and efficiently implement web forms, table structure, page language, etc?
  • Include content responsiveness on different devices, text resize ability, and other accessibility techniques?
  • Ensure accessible use of colours?

As a content creator, are you:

  • Using meaningful link names?
  • Making sure your text is easily readable?
  • Structuring content correctly?
What are the key accessibility considerations in the government sector?

There are legislative and legal requirements for government, but not everyone is aware of exactly this means or requires.

For example, in Australia we have the Digital Service Standard (DSS), which covers 13 requirements for building digital platforms in the government sector. Section 9 of the DSS is all about ensuring accessibility while section 10 is about testing the service.

The government sector also needs to be aware of the new requirements between WCAG 2.0 or 2.1. In addition to knowing what’s required, it’s important to clearly communicate them with team members who will actually be implementing accessibility to ensure any potential issues are addressed before go live.

Inclusiveness begins here

As I highlighted before, the topic of accessibility is quite broad. That means the requirements for one project or organisation will likely be different to another, so there is no “one size fits all” solution for ensuring inclusiveness.

If you are interested to find out where you are on your digital accessibility journey, contact us and we will guide you through the process and guidelines. If you feel that your customers are not getting the digital experience that they expect, we can also help you transform your applications to deliver the quality your customers demand.

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