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Accessibility for Everyone

Planning for Accessibility

Making the case for accessibility planning to everyone in the start:

Building Your Team #

Everyone whose decisions affect a site's design has a role to play in accessibility.

Leadership #

Professional Development #

Scoping the Project #

Ask these questions early on, and keep a written (not in stone) record of their answers throughout development. Helps ensure the accessibility needs aren't forgotten over time - no ambiguity and shows their importance.

Budgeting #

Ally is a practice, not a budget item. Training for it may cost more time or money initially though. Consider all possible costs.

Limited budget? Aim for the cheapest options that can reach the widest audience. Sometimes a simpler interface without complex interactions is the better choice, in this regard.

Research #

Research helps uncover motivations and habits for using your site, looking into audience needs (such as impairments). Helps make more informed decisions on ally and what to prioritize.

Online research is good for tight budgets, and also makes including those with disabilities as part of the test groups. However face-to-face research lets you see reactions with the full context of environment, needs, and behavior. More accurate reporting and easier to follow up on important topics. It also catches things users might not mention since they're "normal," like how they hold/use their mobile device.

Good to have people in a range of different roles involved with the research, can notice a wider variety of important details.

It's harder to including people with disabilities into testing, but it's important to do it anyway. Brings important accessibility concerns to light much faster, makes them harder to ignore. Look at people with disabilities as individuals, don't assume their experiences are all the same - treat them the same as you would anyone else. Separate what the user needs from what technology is needed.

Make sure research data is quantitative, easier to get meaningful patterns from it.

Production and Development #

Your tech stack matters. Know what accessibility benefits and drawbacks any tool or framework brings with it - make sure they had accessibility as a priority. The Content Management System (CMS) also matters a lot, since it directly affects how accessible output content is.

Testing on Devices #

Remember that some assistive tech will be part of your budget. Most are inexpensive or even free.

Maintenance #

Watch out for the "gotchas" of last-minute changes that can't be checked for accessibility before being launched. Test before and after to avoid last-minute mistakes like this popping up.

Good way to prevent these? Get an accessibility policy! These should be informed by (your) research. It can be a formal document, set of standards, or casual outline of intentions. As long as it:

Making this public is optional, but can show the public your commitment and what to expect.