in Planning and Managing Web Accessibility

Weave accessibility implementation throughout the process to minimize overhead and improve the overall quality of the final outcome. Prioritize quick wins and communicate progress to increase commitment and develop a sense of accomplishment.

Build skills and expertise

Improve accessibility awareness and develop core skills for key staff.

Develop the accessibility skills of everyone involved, including designers, developers, content creators, and managers. This includes providing training for existing staff, as well as including accessibility skills in staff recruitment criteria. Examples of training include:

  • Introductions to accessibility for everyone
  • How accessibility benefits your business for management and project managers
  • Accessible visual design for designers and marketing
  • Accessible coding solutions for developers and testers
  • Writing accessible content for non-technical content authors

Document and share experience gathered throughout the processes to build expertise in creating accessible websites. Consider how to capture and communicate lessons learned, successful approaches, and good techniques. Include what didn’t work, as well as what did, to avoid time being spent on approaches known to have problems.

Training is an initial investment that pays off as understanding of accessibility increases and it becomes more common practice. Increase knowledge should result in more accessible implementations first time, helping to reduce evaluation and rework costs and limit risk.

For more information

Integrate goals into policies

Create a policy framework that builds accessibility throughout the organization.

Integrate the goals from your accessibility policy within other organizational procedures and policies. This will help spread the responsibility but also ensure that accessibility is considered as an integral part of day-to-day activities.

The following are some examples of where incorporating accessibility can bring broad benefits.

  • Recruitment policies – Include relevant accessibility skills in general recruitment briefs and policies, to support the recruitment of staff expertise.
  • Staff training – Provide accessibility training as part of staff and career development plans, to support the development of staff expertise.
  • Document publishing process – Incorporate accessibility checks as part of your web content publishing workflow, to ensure that good practice is maintained and that final web content continues to be accessible.
  • Procurement process – Ensure that suppliers are aware of your accessibility requirements by including criteria in any request for quotations and contracts.

Depending on your organization there may be several other relevant procedures or policies that involve accessibility, such as equal employment policies, workspace accommodation, and customer care.

Assign tasks and support delivery

Assign tasks according to the set objectives and identified responsibilities. Track progress on the tasks and provide support where needed.

Communicate deliverables and assignments to assigned team members. Ensure staff know what is expected of them, that they have the necessary capabilities, and are clear on schedules. Ensure that everyone has the resources to help them with their tasks. Provide a clear process for people to flag issues and ensure that any issues raised are managed and responded to efficiently.

Individuals in multi-disciplinary teams are likely to have responsibility for meeting different parts of your accessibility standard. Be specific about each individual’s responsibility. For example, visual designers may be responsible for success criteria concerned with the visual elements of content, and developers are concerned with those related to the underlying code. Similarly, a contracts team may be responsible for ensuring that the procurement process includes accessibility requirements for third-party content.

Depending on organization size, you may consider an accessibility task force that meets regularly to coordinate and verify progress among departments.

For more information

Evaluate early and regularly

Find and fix issues early in the process to reduce risk and cost.

Evaluate accessibility throughout the design and development process, and particularly at key milestones and sprints. Evaluate key web pages, processes, and stand-alone components as they become available. Avoid evaluating accessibility separately and integrate checks iteratively within any current testing and quality assurance processes.

Early evaluations of designs help identify problems and potential problems before significant work takes place. Other design resources, such as personas and user stories, can also be reviewed to include accessibility considerations. This will help designers better understand how people with disabilities interact with your website.

Include input from users with disabilities as part of your evaluations. Encourage team members to attend testing sessions as this provides insight and context into barriers experienced by users.

Use a standard report structure to capture evaluation findings. This allows for comparisons between different websites and across versions of the same website. Raise accessibility issues in an issue tracking system to ensure that it is allocated resources and fixed as part of the standard quality assurance cycle.

For more information

Prioritize issues

Use resources effectively by addressing high impact, easy-to-resolve issues first.

While all accessibility objectives will need to be met, prioritizing can help you achieve them more effectively. Examples of prioritization include:

  • Start with issues that are easier to fix, to help build motivation in the team and demonstrate success.
  • Prioritize the development of accessible templates and components to support the creating of accessible content.
  • Prioritize visual design to synchronize with an on-going re-branding activity within the organization.
  • Prioritize recruitment or procurement policies to support anticipated hiring and acquisitions.
  • De-prioritize issues that are related to tools or systems, such as a content management system (CMS), that are expected to be changed soon anyway.

Involve different perspectives, including internal and external stakeholders, in the prioritization process. Review the situation regularly to benefit from arising opportunities.

For more information

Track and communicate progress

Monitor progress towards accessibility goals and share the good and bad to maintain awareness and support.

Track the progress made towards your accessibility objectives according to the assigned responsibilities and planned schedule. This includes progress on:

  • Web content accessibility
  • Implementation of procedures and policies
  • Staff training and knowledge sharing
  • Organizational awareness and attitude

Share accessibility achievements, in particular with management, to help maintain and increase support for accessibility activities. Communicating lack of achievement can help highlight insufficient support or other systemic challenges and focus management on the need for urgent attention.

Regular communication can help make the benefits of and challenges with accessibility implementation more transparent and easier to understand by your peers. For example, sharing successful training sessions, resources, and tools across departments could leverage knowledge and skills.

Possible communication opportunities include:

  • Reporting issue clearance rate to project management.
  • Share highlight videos from user experience sessions with accessibility champions.
  • Developer workshops to share good practice approaches.
Back to Top