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How to win the accessibility 3-legged race


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Are you our next client? Contact us at …

Are you our next client? Contact us at

George Zamfir & Billy Gregory - Good Wally
Good Wally is a digital accessibility consulting firm based in Toronto, Canada.

This presentation was delivered at:
- Accessibility Conference in Guelph, May 2013
- CSUN in San Diego, March 2014

Practical tips on how to ask for and get accessible web products from your web agency. We are drawing from our experience of working with web agencies (to deliver web products to clients) and with clients outsourcing web projects to agencies.

In the last few years it has become apparent that organizations are more aware of the accessibility requirements. Not surprising, this responsibility has started to transfer to the web projects outsourced to web agencies as well. For both parties the responsibility to deliver accessible web products is becoming more and more visible.

This shared responsibility can be viewed as added pressure or as a competitive advantage. Either way we can use this to our users' advantage and we are here to discuss how.

Contact Information:
George Zamfir: - -
Billy Gregory:

Published in: Technology, Design

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  • 1. Insider information!How to get the most accessibilityfrom your web agencyWednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:  hp://
  • 2. (or in other words)How to win theaccessibility 3-legged raceWednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:  hp://
  • 3. 🌎 @good_wallyHow to win theaccessibility 3-legged accessconf.caGeorge BillyWednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 4. Accessibility solutioneer at Good - Accessibility Solutioneer - Good WallyGeorge ZamfirAccessibility consultant at Scotiabank at TorontoAccessibility and InclusiveDesign meetup, 29 May, 13
  • 5. 🌎 @good_wallyIn my spare time...Wednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  dance  at  weddings  -­‐  SUCCESSFULLYjump  off  cliffs  -­‐  in  the  wedding  tuxI  drink  my  tea  out  of  beer  mugs
  • 6. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  dance  at  weddings  -­‐  SUCCESSFULLYjump  off  cliffs  -­‐  in  the  wedding  tuxI  drink  my  tea  out  of  beer  mugs
  • 7. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  dance  at  weddings  -­‐  SUCCESSFULLYjump  off  cliffs  -­‐  in  the  wedding  tuxI  drink  my  tea  out  of  beer  mugs
  • 8. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  dance  at  weddings  -­‐  SUCCESSFULLYjump  off  cliffs  -­‐  in  the  wedding  tuxI  drink  my  tea  out  of  beer  mugs
  • 9. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  dance  at  weddings  -­‐  SUCCESSFULLYjump  off  cliffs  -­‐  in  the  wedding  tuxI  drink  my  tea  out  of  beer  mugs
  • 10. Accessibility solutioneer at Good - Accessibility Solutioneer - Good WallyBilly GregoryMember of “Team Canada” in theKnowbility 2012 Open Air developer with over 5 yearsexperience writing accessible codeWednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 11. 🌎 @good_wallyIn my spare time...Wednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  am  a  recovering  rap  metal  singerI  have  two  awesome  daughters  that  like  to  dress  up  as  zombiesI  have  been  to  the  future...  and  I  look  amazing
  • 12. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  am  a  recovering  rap  metal  singerI  have  two  awesome  daughters  that  like  to  dress  up  as  zombiesI  have  been  to  the  future...  and  I  look  amazing
  • 13. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  am  a  recovering  rap  metal  singerI  have  two  awesome  daughters  that  like  to  dress  up  as  zombiesI  have  been  to  the  future...  and  I  look  amazing
  • 14. 🌎 @good_wallyWednesday, 29 May, 13HOWEVER,  In  my  spare  2me...  I  am  a  recovering  rap  metal  singerI  have  two  awesome  daughters  that  like  to  dress  up  as  zombiesI  have  been  to  the  future...  and  I  look  amazing
  • 15. Let us help you with the handshakeWednesday, 29 May, 13We’re here to help you make that handshake happen!Photo:
  • 16. Let us help you with the handshakeWednesday, 29 May, 13We’re here to help you make that handshake happen!Photo:
  • 17. How to win the accessibility 3-legged raceAgendaHow to win the accessibility 3-legged race1. Set yourself up for success with accessibility2. Create a strategy and stick to it3. Be realistic about your teams accessibility knowledge4. Use them testing tools AND test with users5. Always be closingRound-the-room discussionModerated discussion on our collective experiencesWednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 18. “Oh yes, its keyboard accessible!To open the menu pressCtrl-Shift-Alt-F2-W-O-O-T!”Wednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:
  • 19. “On our website we sell [product X]. Blind people don’tuse our product so, they don’t visit our site!”Wednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:
  • 20. “Accessible websites are ugly”Wednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:!/page3
  • 21. So is your website accessible or not?"Accessibility is not only an issue of basichuman rights, but also one of citizenship. Inrecognition of this, and to commemorate theInternational Day of Persons with Disabilities,the [awesome organization]... We are takingpart in a global Disability CommunityInvolvement Initiative launched in associationwith leading advocacy groups for the disabled."Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 22. So is your website accessible or not?Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 23. 1. Set yourself up for success withaccessibilityEarly, in that planning / budget phase.Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 24. "We can make it accessible. And WCAG 2 AAAAcompliant. And Section 508. W3C-validated. And ponies.”Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 25. 1. Set yourself up for success with accessibilityAgency• "We need an accessible website" is not a goodrequirement.• Take it one step further, try to read between thelines. Is accessibility a legal requirement for theclient? Do they have corporate buy-in?• Hint: What if youre the only agency who issuccessful in delivering accessible web products?Wednesday, 29 May, 13• "We  need  an  accessible  website"  is  not  a  good  requirement.  Vague  is  another  word  for  future  trouble,  idenTfy  the  clients  needs.  Is  it  Sec)on  508,  AODA?  Is  it  WCAG  2?  Which  level?• Take  it  one  step  further,  try  to  read  between  the  lines.  Is  accessibility  a  legal  requirement  for  the  client?  Do  they  have  corporate  buy-­‐in?  Does  the  client  have  other  accessible  web  products?    The  answers  to  these  quesTons  can  provide  extremely  valuable  insight  for  your  strategy  and  future  collaboraTon  with  the  client.• Hint:  What  if  youre  the  only  agency  who  is  successful  in  delivering  accessible  web  products?  That  is  a  differenTator  for  you,  a  compeTTve  advantage.
  • 26. 1. Set yourself up for success with accessibilityClient• Take extra steps to clearly set expectations:"We want an accessible website conforming withWCAG 2, level AA.".• Any documents that are signed should clearlydefine what the expectation is.• Make sure you know what youre asking for or youhave someone who can help with that.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• Take  extra  steps  to  clearly  set  expectaTons:  "We  want  an  accessible  website  conforming  with  WCAG  2.  Documents  accessibility  and  live  capTons  is  not  in  scope  for  this  projects".• Any  documents  that  are  signed  should  clearly  define  what  the  expectaTon  is.  That  can  be  a  contract,  statement  of  work,  RFP.  etc.    • Make  sure  you  know  what  youre  asking  for  or  you  have  someone  who  can  help  with  that.
  • 27. 2. Create a strategy and stick to it"We want to be accessible"=NOT a strategyWednesday, 29 May, 13"We  want  to  be  accessible"  is  not  a  strategy.  Reflect  the  accessibility  strategy  in  the  planning  documents  everyone  is  using,  usually  those  are  "workback  schedules".
  • 28. "Other companies put a plugin on their website forusers to download. That made their website accessible!"Wednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:
  • 29. 2. Create a strategy and stick to itAgency• You should make accessibility an integral part of your workflow - itsbecoming a competitive advantage. Also, it benefits you oninteroperability, SEO and mobile development.• Your best accessibility strategy? Bake accessibility in at every stage.• Your account / project manager needs to clearly articulate howaccessibility is done, at which stage and who is doing it.• If you made a commitment for accessibility and dont know whereto start get help. ASAP.• Example: workback schedule we amended for accessibility for oneof our clients.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• You  should  make  accessibility  an  integral  part  of  your  workflow  -­‐  its  becoming  a  compeTTve  advantage.  Also,  it  benefits  you  on  interoperability,  SEO  and  mobile  development.• Your  best  accessibility  strategy?  Bake  accessibility  in  at  every  stage.  Dropping  accessibility  on  Billy  the  developer  will  get  you  nowhere  and  frustrate  Billy  to  no  end.• Your  account  manager  /  project  manager  needs  to  be  able  to  clearly  arTculate  what  is  being  done  for  accessibility,  at  which  stage  and  who  is  doing  it.• Example:  workback  schedule  we  amended  for  accessibility  for  one  of  our  clients.• If  you  made  a  commitment  for  accessibility  and  dont  know  where  to  start  get  help.  ASAP.  But  get  the  help  that  will  leave  the  accessibility  knowledge  
  • 30. 2. Create a strategy and stick to itClient• Your relationship with the agency will dictate the strategyand what / how you approach accessibility. • Ask 1 question: Whats your accessibility strategy? Inyour strategy include accessibility at every stage: planning,design, wireframes, prototype, final product.• Benefits: you get the agency to think and plan foraccessibility before the project starts. • Pro tip: if you gave style guides / development guidelinesthat include accessibility share those with the agency.• Compromising is OK as long as it’s realistic.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• Your  relaTonship  with  the  agency  will  dictate  the  strategy  and  what  /  how  you  approach  accessibility.  • Ask  1  simple  quesTon:  Whats  your  accessibility  strategy?  You  can  get  a  lot  of  informaTon  from  this  alone.  If  they  dont  have  one,  you  make  one  and  get  them  to  price  it  and  sign-­‐off  on  it.• In  your  strategy  include  accessibility  at  every  stage:  planning,  design,  wireframes,  prototype,  final  product.• Ask  the  agency  to  report  on  the  accessibility  implementaTon  strategy.• Benefits:  you  get  the  agency  to  think  and  plan  for  accessibility  before  the  project  starts.  • Pro  2p:  if  you  gave  style  guides  /  development  guidelines  that  include  accessibility  share  those  with  the  agency.  Request  that  all  people  assigned  to  
  • 31. Accessibility Pricing”Average cost to fix #a11y bug: on developersmachine $25; in testing $500; once released$15,000!”- Susann Keohane, AccessU 2013• Some people say 30-50% increase• How about 9.13% ?• IBM’s Web-Costing Model [pdf]2. Create a strategy and stick to itWednesday, 29 May, 13How  much  does  the  project  cost  with  and  without  a11y?Some  people  say  30-­‐50%  increaseOur  number?  9.13%  (based  on  a  recent  RFP)   -­‐  as  expensive  as  project  management   -­‐  the  agency’s  
  • 32. 3. Be realistic about your teamsaccessibility knowledgeIt’s a team effort, not the developer’s job.Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 33. "Bob from IT says it works with JAWS 5"Wednesday, 29 May, 13Photo:
  • 34. 3. Be realistic about your teams accessibility knowledgeAgency• Use your strongest HTML/CSS guy for thejob, your share point guy aint gonna cut it!• You need your whole team to know accessibility.Teamwork not "the one guy who knowsVoiceOver". • Start small, ask your team to take the short onlineAODA / Customer Service course. Wednesday, 29 May, 13• Use  your  strongest  HTML/CSS  guy  for  the  job,  your  share  point  guy  aint  gonna  cut  it!  The  backbone  of  any  accessible  site  is  solid/semanTc  HTML• You  need  your  whole  team  to  know  accessibility.  An  excellent  content  creator  understands  the  benefit  of  good  alt=  text  for  SEO  and  accessibility,  a  developer  may  not.  You  need  teamwork  not  "the  one  guy  who  knows  VoiceOver".• Keyboard  accessibility  doesn’t  being  and  end  with  the  TAB  key...  • "Oh  yes,  its  keyboard  accessible.  We  put  in  keyboard  shortcuts  for  the  navigaTon  menu  -­‐  press  Shig-­‐Ctrl-­‐Alt-­‐F2-­‐W-­‐T-­‐F  to  open  menu  tabs".  Hint:  this  is  not  keyboard  accessible.  • Start  small,  ask  your  team  to  take  the  short  online  AODA  /  Customer  Service  course.  
  • 35. 3. Be realistic about your teams accessibility knowledgeClient• Testing only with screen readers is not going to cut it.• Make sure youre comfortable with the agencysaccessibility knowledge. Dont get into meetings / callswith the sales team, ask for the PM, BAs, designers,etc.• Ask for examples of their work with other accessibleprojects. If the agency has no proven knowledge ofaccessibility, hire a third party.• No time to kick back and relax - help the agency.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• TesTng  only  with  screen  readers  is  not  going  to  cut  it.  Weve  seen  web  products  that  were  coded  to  work  with  screen  readers  that  were  completely  inaccessible  to  other  users.• But  also  make  sure  youre  comfortable  with  the  agencys  accessibility  knowledge.  Dont  get  into  meeTngs  /  calls  with  the  sales  team,  ask  for  the  PM,  BAs,  designers,  developers  and  prod  the  team.• Ask  for  examples  of  their  work  with  other  accessible  projects.  If  the  agency  has  no  proven  knowledge  of  accessibility,  hire  a  third  party.• Do  not  rely  on  the  agency  alone  to  implement  accessibility.  You  need  to  be  able  to  confirm  it.
  • 36. 4. Use them testing tools ANDtest with usersSome are manual, some are automated, somework straight in your browser - you have options.AND test with real users!Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 37. "Accessibility is part of our workflow. When we doQA testing" (which is 5 days before we go live)Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 38. 4. Use them testing tools AND test with usersAgency• Test with users with disabilities!• You dont need to invest in expensive testingtools. Just turn on VoiceOver on you Mac or HighContrast Mode in Windows - these come with theoperating system. • Other tools we recommend are: WebAIM WAVE,aChecker, Deque FireEyes, Color ContrastAnalyzer, etc.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• Test  with  users  with  disabiliTes!• You  dont  need  to  invest  in  expensive  tesTng  tools.  Just  turn  on  VoiceOver  on  you  Mac  or  High  Contrast  Mode  in  Windows  -­‐  these  come  with  the  operaTng  system.  • Other  tools  we  recommend  are:  WebAIM  WAVE,  aChecker,  Deque  FireEyes,  Color  Contrast  Analyzer,  etc.
  • 39. 4. Use them testing tools AND test with usersClient• Test with users with disabilities or at least simulatewith assistive technologies. Gamify it!• Use automated testing tools. Especially forregularly-posted content.• Be smart about prioritizing:1 big issue on 1 page vs 1 small issue on 80 pagesWednesday, 29 May, 13• Test  with  users  with  disabili2es!• Use  an  automated  tesTng  tools  especially  if  content  will  be  regularly  posted  on  the  newly  launched  website.  This  will  provide  you  snapshots  in  Tme.• Be  smart  about  priori2zing.  Honestly,  you  have  to  look  at  the  team’s  morale  as  well.
  • 40. 5. Always be closingIs the web product launched accessible or not?What is the remediation strategy?Who is doing it and when?Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 41. “We’ll just do it in Phase 2!”Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 42. 5. Always be closingAgency• Always be closing: you dont want accessibilitylingering after launch. • Write a report that clearly depicts the accessibilityresults. High level details: its keyboard accessible,colour contrast passes with flying colours (punintended), it works with JAWS 13 and ZoomText 10, etc.• Do good work and dont be afraid to show the clientyou can do it again, this is chance to articulate that inthe report.Wednesday, 29 May, 13• Always  be  closing:  you  dont  want  accessibility  lingering  ager  launch.  • Write  a  report  that  clearly  depicts  the  accessibility  results.  High  level  details:  its  keyboard  accessible,  colour  contrast  passes  with  flying  colours  (pun  intended),  it  works  with  JAWS  13  and  ZoomText  10,  etc.• Do  good  work  and  dont  be  afraid  to  show  the  client  you  can  do  it  again,  this  is  chance  to  arTculate  that  in  the  report.
  • 43. 5. Always be closingClient• Be ready to at least spot-check. And then sign-off on it.• Its better to launch with some accessibility issues then notlaunch at all. Planning for remediation is OK.• Ask the agency to report on the results of their accessibilitystrategy / work completed. Hint: you dont actually carehow they report.• The Major Benefit? You flip the accessibility process upsidedown. Youre basically asking for 2 things: ★ do the accessibility work ★ tell me about what you didWednesday, 29 May, 13• Ask  the  agency  to  report  on  the  results  of  their  accessibility  strategy  /  work  completed.  Is  it  accessible  or  not?  Why  not?  • Hint:  you  dont  actually  care  how  they  report,  it  can  be  anything  -­‐  WCAG  checklist,    compliance  sign-­‐off,  developers  tesTmonials,  etc.  The  Major  Benefit?  You  flip  the  accessibility  process  upside  down.  Its  not  JUST  your  responsibility  to  ensure  accessibility,  youre  transferring  some  of  that  responsibility  to  the  agency.  When  you  ask  the  agency  to  report  on  accessibility  youre  basically  asking  for  2  things:  1. do  the  accessibility  work  2. tell  me  about  what  you  did
  • 44. 🌎 @good_wallyThank you!Wednesday, 29 May, 13
  • 45. 🌎 @good_wallyGeorge you!Wednesday, 29 May, 13