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Difference between revisions of "Start with Accessibility"

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The [http://www.w3.org/community/wai-engage/wiki/Accessibility_Responsibility_Breakdown#Project_management role of the Project Manager] is vital to the success of an accessible web project.  At the very start, the Project Manager needs to ensure that every stakeholder understands their role and the requirements at every stage of the project (initiation, planning, design, development, closure).   
 
The [http://www.w3.org/community/wai-engage/wiki/Accessibility_Responsibility_Breakdown#Project_management role of the Project Manager] is vital to the success of an accessible web project.  At the very start, the Project Manager needs to ensure that every stakeholder understands their role and the requirements at every stage of the project (initiation, planning, design, development, closure).   
  

Revision as of 15:38, 11 February 2013

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Start with Accessibility: How to Integrate It into Web Projects

Introduction

Consider accessibility early and throughout the design and development process for seamless and elegant integration into web projects.

Incorporating accessibility from the start of a project increases the positive impact of designing for a broad constituency while decreasing development costs associated with accessibility when it is addressed much later. Avoid situations in which accessibility is considered only at the end of the development process. This often results in awkward, "tacked on" accessibility features that are much less effective for people with disabilities and less beneficial overall. In addition, this approach - i.e. to address accessibility later and at the end of a project - can result in additional costs.

When accessibility is considered for the first time in a project, some additional steps to ensure accessibility are required, but most of the planning, design, checking and implementation will fit easily into the processes already in place. For example, instead of evaluating accessibility separately, integrate accessibility checks iteratively within the current testing and quality assurance (QA) processes. That's just one example of how integrating accessibility applies through a project. Best practices in web design indicate that it is important to follow a systematic design process and that accessibility issues are addressed at each stage.

This resource addresses how and where accessibility fits through the lifecycle of a web project.


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Project Initiation Stage

The role of the Project Manager is vital to the success of an accessible web project. At the very start, the Project Manager needs to ensure that every stakeholder understands their role and the requirements at every stage of the project (initiation, planning, design, development, closure).

In the initiation stage, there are several accessibility considerations that need to be addressed in the project document and which may require some research, for example, are there legal requirements which should be considered, what is the understanding of accessibility within the organization from the level of stakeholders through the team, is training required, are the tools used accessible?

Legal requirements

There may be legal requirements of the country which should be taken into consideration. Many organizations use WCAG as a target for accessibility. For example, an organization may set its target to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A or Level AA success criteria. Developing an accessibility policy is a good way to clarify and communicate its target.

The following resources provide information on:

At the same time, in order to enable continuity of an accessible site or application, an internal policy and a plan to implement the policy should be developed. The following resources provide guidance on how to:

Discovery & Analysis

Some analysis of the level of understanding of accessibility within the organization is necessary: stakeholders, designers, developers, content providers are all concerned. A frequent cause of accessibility barriers is simply the lack of awareness on the subject. Assess the level of accessibility knowledge and if there is need to provide training for the content providers, designers and developers. This is an initial investment but once staff understand the requirements for accessible products, then, accessibility becomes part of the required standards and is no longer considered as a separate additional requirement and investment.

The authoring tools, the software specifications and the technical solutions should also be considered. Estimate resources required to address the needs identified in the initial assessment. Include staff training, software purchase or replacement, testing, retrofitting of site, monitoring of site, etc., as needed.

The following resources provide some guidance on the essential aspects pertinent to accessibility requirements gathering:

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