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How to Put the PM in Accessibility

Learn how project managers and product managers can ensure their projects are accessible and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities.

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Angela M. Hooker
Reflections | Projections
Conference
September 2020
How to Put
the “PM” in
Accessibility
@AccessForAll
#PMinAccessibility
74%
Projects that fail …
74%
… of tech projects fail
74%
What does
accessibility really
mean, and why is it
important?

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How to Put the PM in Accessibility

  • 1. Angela M. Hooker Reflections | Projections Conference September 2020 How to Put the “PM” in Accessibility
  • 3. 74%
  • 5. … of tech projects fail 74%
  • 6. What does accessibility really mean, and why is it important?
  • 7. Whatever the method or the medium … accessibility supports everyday living.
  • 8. Meet the OG Steves and their life- changing contributions…
  • 9. Who and what disabilities are we talking about?
  • 10. Disability types and accessibility concerns Deaf and hard-of-hearing Vision impairments Cognitive impairments Dyslexia Seizure and neurological Intellectual disabilities Mental health (general)
  • 11. Disability types and accessibility concerns (cont.) Anxiety and depression Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Motor disability Autism Elderly and aging Situational limitations Low-language proficiency or non- native language speakers
  • 12. Your ability to produce accessible works indicates your skill level as a PM.
  • 13. Why do you build in accessibility from the start?
  • 14. So, how do you build accessibility into projects?
  • 25. How do you coach your team and oversee their work?
  • 34. • Do the technologies you’ve chosen support accessibility? • Investigate compliance statements. • Check well-known implementations of those technologies. • Review these technologies, if needed. • Is there enough time for accessibility reviews throughout the project timeline? • Have you factored in budget for accessibility consultations (if you need outside help)? • Have you considered the specific needs of people with each disability type and people in situational limitations? Top tasks for PMs (1 of 2)
  • 35. • Choose the accessibility standards you’ll follow for the project. • Ask potential vendors for proof that they are experienced in accessibility. • Include accessibility requirements in requests for proposals, contracts, statements of work, etc. • When you select a supplier, state in your contract that they must give proof that their work conforms to your chosen accessibility standards when the project is complete. • State in the contract that your team—and not the supplier— will have the final say on whether the supplier has met the standards. Top tasks for PMs (2 of 2)
  • 36. • Write simply and clearly. • Use plain language principles. • Aim for a sixth-grade reading level. • Consider people with cognitive impairments, low-language proficiency, mental health concerns, plus non-native language speakers, neurodiverse people, etc. • Test your content with people with disabilities; ask if they can complete a task based on the content. Top tasks for content writers
  • 37. • Consult user personas before you design. • After you’ve designed each component, page, etc., work with your accessibility consultant to map out how people with each type of access need (and people without access needs) will use each part of your project’s interface and complete tasks. • Choose fonts that support the best readability (avoid fonts that are too thin or ambiguous; avoid too many fonts per page; remember that font use/repetition conveys structure/hierarchy). • Watch out for flat design issues. Sometimes the lack of depth makes it hard to perceive parts of an interface. • Don’t follow the crowd—innovate! Top tasks for designers (1 of 2)
  • 38. • Use motion with caution, as it can make some people ill or, worse, induce seizures. • Mark up your design for developers. Walk them through each component/page. Top tasks for designers (2 of 2)
  • 39. • Work with the designers and the accessibility consultant to plan for all content states, interactions, etc. • Use checklists to help you remember accessibility principles, but know that using a checklist doesn’t make your work accessible. • Write user stories, related to each accessibility standard in the Microsoft Accessibility Standards, so that you meet each user need that each standard addresses. • Build out the design. • Use semantic code. • Code for device and platform independence. • Support keyboard accessibility. Top tasks for developers (1 of 2)
  • 40. • Use HTML before relying on other technologies, such as ARIA, to create compliant works. • Validate your code to find common errors, or be sure your development environment checks your code for errors. Don’t worry about issues that the W3C recommends but validators mark as errors (including ARIA, CSS, etc.). • Test your code with accessibility tools throughout your development process—not just at the end. Top tasks for developers (2 of 2)
  • 41. • Integrating Accessibility in the Organization’s Web Development Life Cycle, Denis Boudreau • Accessibility for Project Managers, Ben Logan • Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design, Shawn Lawton Henry • Managing Accessibility Compliance in the Enterprise, Karl Groves • (Personas) Understanding Disabilities and Impairments: User Profiles, GOV.UK • Do Your D&I Efforts Include People with Disabilities, Harvard Business Review • Motivating Accessibility Change, WebAIM Resources